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Statement issued by Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane

Posted on: August 1, 2002 12:22 PM
Related Categories: Southern Africa

On the appointment of the Most Revd Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury

I am delighted by the appointment of Rowan Williams. I have known him and his wife Jane since the 80's - a very difficult time for the church in South Africa. It was then that they responded to my invitation to lead seminars in this country and their input was invaluable and hugely encouraging at a time when we desperately needed friends in the North.

One of the challenges for those who lead is to open up new paths to places where people have never been before. I have no doubt that during his tenure Archbishop Williams will take our global Communion on an important journey of self discovery on what it means to be an Anglican in the twenty-first century and beyond.

His great depth of spirituality will be a source of inspiration to the younger and vibrant churches in the South, while creating new opportunities in the established, and sometimes static, churches of the North.

As importantly, his pastoral heart and passion for justice will be a source of encouragement for those dealing with life and death issues, such as poverty, disease and a world economic order in which the rich are getting far too rich and the poor grow desperately poorer.

His commitment to the Anglican Communion, which I believe presently stands at some 70 million worshippers, will strengthen the bonds of affection that bind us. I know, from past experience that he will challenge us to develop an ethic of living with our differences and otherness.

It is typical of the man that his first letter to his fellow archbishops worldwide includes a reminder that our calling is to mission and evangelism and he warns of the dangers inherent in allowing other interests to determine our agendas.