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Archbishop Rowan Williams' opening remarks at September 21 news conference

[Episcopal News Service] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, offered the following opening remarks at the House of Bishops September 21 news conference in New Orleans.


I and the members of the Joint Standing Committee were very glad to accept the invitation of the Presiding Bishop to join the House of Bishops for part of this session.

One of the greatest privileges of being here has been the chance to see something of the quite outstanding work being done by the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana in the ongoing work of social reconstruction in a city still deeply scarred by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina two years ago. I was able to visit a project yesterday in the lower Ninth Ward and to see the wonderfully committed and vibrant new church community that has sprung up around the reconstruction work. The new Church of All Souls has come into being as a direct result of the sacrificial generosity of the Episcopal Church in this city and its work with those who have suffered most, and it should be an inspiration to the whole of the communion.

It has been a valuable opportunity to listen carefully to the thinking of the bishops here on the problems that face the Communion; and also for us to share with the House some perspectives from elsewhere in the Communion. I think that in the light of the conversations we have come to a better understanding of the House in response to the questions and proposals of the Dar es Salaam Primates' Meeting. I hope that the House, equally, has understood more fully what those questions and proposals were meant to achieve. The House will continue to reflect on them over the weekend.

Despite what has been claimed, there is no "ultimatum" involved. The Primates asked for a response by September 30 simply because we were aware that this was the meeting of the House likely to be formulating such a response. The ACC and Primates Joint Standing Committee will be reading and digesting what the bishops have to say, and will let me know their thoughts on it early next week. After this I shall be sharing what they say, along with my own assessments, with the Primates and others, inviting their advice in the next couple of weeks. I hope these days will result in a constructive and fresh way forward for all of us.

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