Reaction to decision of Rowan Williams to stand down from role as Archbishop of Canterbury

The Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the MethodistChurch, offers his reflections on the decision of Rowan Williams tostand down from role as Archbishop of Canterbury:

"Archbishop Rowan is a deeply spiritual, gracious and thoughtfulman of integrity. Personally, he has offered me great mutualsupport and friendship within the leadership of the Church. It hasbeen a great pleasure and an honour to work with him as we havesought closer cooperation between our two Churches. In particular,the Methodist Church is hugely grateful for his enthusiasm as achampion of the ecumenical Fresh Expressions movement and hisunstinting commitment to the Anglican-Methodist Covenant.

"He has also been an inspiration to many through his connectionswith Churches around the world, challenging us to be responsive andproactive for justice and peace. I am particularly grateful that hehas taken the initiative of inviting an ever-wider range ofChristian leaders to reflect together on the changing face ofsociety and Christian responses to it. We wish the Archbishop andhis family God's richest blessings in the next stage of theirjourney."