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

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Bishops Need Stillness

Saturday 5th May 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that Bishops need to make time for stillness and silence if they are to find the strength to show leadership to the Church.

Dr Williams was speaking in sermon at the consecration of the new Bishop of West Malaysia, The Rt Revd Ng Moon Hing in St Mary's Cathedral, Kuala Lumpur on Saturday 05 May 2007. A congregation of almost 900, sitting in the body of the church and its two extensions, heard Dr Williams describe life for a bishop as something that should first of all be listening to God:

"Day by day we bishops need to spend time in stillness and in silence, waiting and praying for the Holy Spirit, praying that the Word of God will richly come alive and that light will shine out of our darkness, the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. These earthern vessels show that power belongs to God and not to us... No bishop's ministry will survive more than 24 hours without that silence, that blessed 'doing nothing' which is at the centre of what God is doing in us."

"Let no-one be under any illusion; being a bishop is not always simple, straightforward, easy or popular task (and I think I hear a murmur of assent there), yet it is a privilege and an exciting task, because it involves helping the Church in being what God wants it to be; to be what God alone can make it be. It is exciting because it is about being with the risen Jesus; about being there with Peter and John on the seashore where Jesus calls, gives and sends."

"Our mission is not to conquer the world, to subdue others... our mission is to draw people to the company of Jesus; new words to speak, new thoughts to think and new love rising in their hearts."

Later in the service, Dr Williams joined the Archbishop of South East Asia, the Rt Revd John Chew and more than a dozen other provincial and visiting bishops, in laying hands on the new Bishop in consecration.

The Archbishop travels to Sri Lanka on Monday.

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