Keep­ing a low pro­file

The Church of England - - ENGLAND ON SUNDAY -

Lord Wil­liams of Oys­ter­mouth, or Bishop Rowan, as he prefers to be known, is not en­joy­ing the high pro­file of his pre­de­ces­sor but he has not al­to­gether dis­ap­peared from view. Over Easter he was re­ported help­ing in a food kitchen in Cam­bridge and he has given an in­ter­view to Chris­tian mag­a­zine. In this he says he is ‘ex­cited’ by his suc­ces­sor’s ap­point­ment but un­like his pre­de­ces­sor does not ap­pear to be wor­ried by the ad­vance of sec­u­lar­ism. “Chris­tian­ity has noth­ing to fear,” he says quite firmly. In an in­ter­view with Pre­mier Chris­tian Ra­dio last month Bishop Rowan said he was not ‘rush­ing to the bar­ri­cades’ to de­fend Chris­tian­ity. “Don’t let’s imag­ine the ad­vance of the king­dom of God is bound up with our be­ing pop­u­lar or in­flu­en­tial,” he warned. He sug­gested that we are in a cli­mate ‘where peo­ple don’t quite un­der­stand how re­li­gious con­vic­tion works very well’ so it’s not sur­pris­ing that they ‘get them­selves in a tan­gle about how to hon­our it pub­licly with­out hon­our­ing pub­lic uni­ver­sal pro­vi­sion’. Mean­while Amer­i­can theologian Stan­ley Hauer­was has hailed Rowan Wil­liams for teach­ing us ‘the art of or­di­nary liv­ing’ with­out grand ges­tures or heroic ac­tions. He told the ABC in Aus­tralia that Wil­liams showed how to live with and at­tend to the ‘church as it is’.

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