The primate of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, reportedly plans to step down next year. The 61-year-old had told friends he wanted to return to academic life, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
Williams taught at Oxford before being elected bishop of Monmouth in Wales in 1991. He has held his office as Archbishop of Canterbury since 2003. Bishops of the Anglican Church of England are required to resign at age 70.
Newspaper reports Williams will resign after Queen Elizabeth II. celebrated their diamond jubilee on the throne in June. He also wants to wait until the General Synod of his church in July has decided on the admission of women to the episcopate. According to the Sunday Telegraph, preparations are already underway at Trinity College, Cambridge, to establish a chair for Williams. As a possible successor to Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, the newspaper brings Archbishop John Sentamu (62) of York into play.
Stepping down in 2012 would also give a successor enough time to prepare for the Lambeth Conference, the decennial gathering of all bishops in the Anglican Communion. The next "Lambeth Conference" will take place in 2018. The meetings have seen controversy over internal church ies on several occasions in recent decades, such as the dispute over the ordination of women to the priesthood and Anglicans' stance on homosexuality.