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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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Prince Pays Tribute to Church of England's Role in Voluntary Work

Monday 22nd November 2004

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and HRH the Prince of Wales have taken part in a seminar on 'Volunteering, charity and the participatory Society' organised at Lambeth Palace.

Before launching a presentation on his work with charity and voluntary organisations, the Prince paid tribute to the extensive involvement of the Church of England;

"I'm reasonably confident in saying that the C of E is probably the biggest participant in the charitable and voluntary sector in the United Kingdom. Its 27,000 licensed ministers provide constant assistance and comfort in distress and to the least fortunate in society. Almost 5,000 schools receive support from the church and at the other end of the spectrum, nearly half of the country's listed buildings are maintained by the Church of England, so I can only take my hat off to the church for all the remarkable things that she does."

In reply, Dr Williams thanked the Prince and his team for a "deeply valuable engagement."

The Archbishop said his experience taught him that a key part of mentoring and support for people in need involved building up their self-respect.

"The challenge we face today is how we nurture self-respect that, itself, generates self-respect. How do we become people who genuinely nurture and create humanity in others? We've seen two ways in which we might come at that challenge; first the straightforward question of living working environments - what they do and don't do to nurture self-respect - and then the larger question of the sacred geometry in which we live. We ignore this at our peril. We're beginning to learn that what happens when those things are ignored is a diminished, shrunken humanity."

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