Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams Resigning

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Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams will be stepping down from his position at the end of the year, he announced Friday.

The news comes after tensions with the Anglican Communion over issues involving women bishops and the ordination of gay clergy.

"The worst aspects of the job, I think, have been the sense that there are some conflicts that won't go away, however long you struggle with them, and that not everybody in the Anglican Communion or even in the Church of England is eager to avoid schism or separation," the archbishop said.

Following the announcement, British Prime Minister David Cameron called Williams "a man of great learning and humility."

"He has sought to unite different communities and offer a profoundly human sense of moral leadership that was respected by people of all faiths," Cameron said.

General Synod member and Christian Concern CEO Andrea Williams said the many issues facing England "have raised the question of the place of Christian faith" in British society. 

"This is, therefore, a crucial time for the established Church in this country to provide leadership, clarity and direction as many people want," Andrea Williams said. 

"The resignation of Archbishop Rowan provides an opportunity for the Church of England to appoint someone who can provide these much needed qualities," her statement continued. 

"For too long the Church's voice has been muddled, indecisive and confusing to the public on the critical issues of our time, especially the protection of life, the redefining of marriage and the place of Jesus Christ in the public square," she said.

Williams said the country needs a leader "who will contend for biblical truth in every area of life, commend Jesus Christ as foundational to addressing these many issues, providing direction for our society and a point of unity for the Anglican Church both here and abroad."

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