Advanced search Click here for the website of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

Skip Content

Archbishop - Christian-Muslim engagement 'for the sake of peace in our common home'

Tuesday 3rd June 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday convened an ecumenical gathering to discuss ways in which Christian-Muslim engagement might be strengthened and deepened.

Seminar participants at Church House

The Archbishop with seminar participants at Church House.

It brought together more than 40 participants from a broad range of geographical, cultural and denominational settings. 

In his welcome to the participants the Archbishop expressed his gratitude that so many had taken the "opportunity for church leaders and scholars representing something of the geographical and confessional diversity of Christianity to discuss together the current experience of dialogue with Muslims - situating the significance of the open letter A Common Word within it, and determining what degree of consensus might be possible as we look forward." 

During the discussions church representatives from around the globe, including Iraq, Lebanon, Nigeria, Malaysia – alongside those from Western countries where Christianity is the majority religion - shared their experience of engagement.     

Dr Williams said, "It has been tremendously important to me personally ... that we have heard such a range of perspectives. As well as deepening our shared understanding of the challenge before us it has, I think, renewed for us all the significance of the church's work in this area of cooperation with other faiths for the sake of peace in our common home."

Delegates at the Consultation were heartened by the great variety of initiatives, some by Muslims and some by Christians, that were taking place at many different levels - many with a well-established track record. A great emphasis was placed on the need to ensure that the results of these encounters were more widely disseminated and influenced the education and formation of young people. The Archbishop agreed to take forward further work, particularly in response to A Common Word.

The Consultation began with a meeting of the consultant scholars on 1 June and continued, with church representatives and under the chairmanship of the Archbishop, for a full day on 2 June.  The Consultation took place at Church House, Westminster and concluded with the participants being welcomed at Evensong in Westminster Abbey followed by a reception and dinner at Lambeth Palace.

The Consultation was resourced by a group of more than 20 scholars from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, UK and USA.  The church representatives represented the full denominational spread of Christianity with the majority of the leaders addressed in A Common Word sending representatives and including a large number representing churches in countries where Christians are in a minority.


Holy See

Ecumenical Patriarchate

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch & All the East

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Patriarchate of Moscow & All Russia

Patriarchate of the Romanian Orthodox Church

Church of Greece

Church of Cyprus

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

Great House of Cilicia

Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria

Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East

Indian Orthodox Church

Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East

Church of England

Anglican Province of South East Asia

Old Catholic Union of Utrecht

Lutheran World Federation

Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland

World Alliance of Reformed Churches

World Evangelical Alliance

Baptist World Alliance

World Council of Churches

Middle East Council of Churches

Conference of European Churches

Christian Alliance of Nigeria


Anglican Communion Office



Christian Alliance of Nigeria


Georgetown University

Princeton Theological Seminary

Yale University


Christian Study Centre, Pakistan

Patriarchate of Antioch & All the East

Trinity Theological College, Singapore


Birmingham University

Cambridge University

Church of England Dioceses of Durham, Rochester & Southwark

Church of Norway & Oslo University

Edinburgh University

Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland

Heythrop College, London

Manchester University

Nottingham University

Oxford Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies

Westminster Abbey

Back · Back to top