Rowan Williams

ABC.jpgThe week before last I had the privilege of spending the day at Lambeth Palace along with my fellow Diocesan Youth Officers from around the country. We were in discussion with Rowan about Youth Ministry in and through the Church and exploring the issues that we see and experience in work with young people. The Archbishop had a very perceptive understanding of youthwork/ministry and he reflected that the key question that he saw churches needing to grapple with was, How to get past the ‘how do we entertain them’ question to the ‘how do they grow?’ question?
We had a wide ranging but useful and practical discussion and I was, as ever, impressed with the Archbishops’ wisdom, humility and desire to engage with young people. (Check out the interview from Oi magazine for an example). He is a man who listens to young people, not because he has to but because he wants to.
This is the second time I have been to Lambeth, the last time was with a bunch of young people. On both the occasions I have been in conversation with Rowan I have been so blessed by the time with him, not because he’s the Archbishop but because of who he is as a person. Rowan is a deeply Godly man who moves easily from laughter to considered and honest dialogue, I get the impression of him being in a role that he doesn’t actually want but is willing to serve fully in as this is where he is called to be.
One of the things that saddens me as I travel out and about is the harsh and judgmental things some of the christians I meet say about the Archbishop. Often what’s being voiced is just a regurgitation of some tabloid nonsense but nevertheless it is re-voiced with conviction and becomes an ‘informed’ opinion of mistrust or dislike of the Archbishop.
For what it’s worth though I wanted to record that Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury is for me a tremendous source of hope and inspiration as we struggle to live out the calling of Jesus across the church and in the communities we serve.
In our sinful state it’s more our ability to follow that’s the problem.
As I write this I think about the Eucharist that Rowan led simply and powerfully in the chapel at Lambeth 10 days ago and how much I was moved by the service and words of the Archbishop. I also think about being sat on the floor a couple of years ago at Lambeth with Rowan and a group of young people, eating Pizza and sharing stories.

3 Replies to “Rowan Williams”

  1. Hi, check out the interview with Rowan in last month’s Youthwork magazine. It is very positive and thoughtful

  2. On the how do we help them grow question, it’s something I try and pick up on in the last chapter of the Young People and Worship Book. It’s actually addressing the how do we help YP have a life long faith, but some of the principals, I think, transfer.

  3. Thanks Mark, good to find you on the blog.
    You win this weeks’ award for the most incidental but intentional book plug 😉
    But I’ll forgive you as it is a thoroughly good book and in fact an ideal companion to “Effective Ministry to Tweenagers”

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