From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Episcopalians: Rowan Williams enthroned as 104th Archbishop of Canterbury

Date Thu, 27 Feb 2003 16:11:27 -0500

February 27, 2003


Episcopalians: Rowan Williams enthroned as 104th Archbishop of 

(ACNS) In a ceremony that included everything from robust Welsh 
hymns to colorful dance, thunderous applause and pageantry, the 
archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Douglas Williams, 
was enthroned February 27 following ancient custom in Canterbury 
Cathedral, the "mother church" of the Anglican Communion. The 
dean of Canterbury, the Very Rev. Robert Willis, led the 
archbishop by the hand to his chair. 

Handing the archbishop the pastoral staff, the dean said: "I 
give you this pastoral staff, a symbol of your investment with 
the spiritualities of the See of Canterbury." The bishop of 
Dover then gave this blessing: "May Christ the Good Shepherd so 
uphold and sustain you that you may lead with courage and guide 
with love those committed to your charge."

Williams then took his seat as the 104th archbishop in 
succession to St. Augustine. The ceremony was attended by many 
representatives of other churches and faiths. The primates of 
the Anglican Communion were present, along with bishops of the 
Church of England and the readers and clergy of the Diocese of 

Dancing replaces fanfares

In place of the sounding of fanfares, the response to the act of 
enthronement was the dancing accompanying the singing, "Amen. 
Siakudumisa." The archbishop took the corporal oath on the 
Canterbury gospels book.

During the exchange of the peace, Williams was joined by his 
wife, Jane, in greeting dozens of people seated in the area 
behind the high altar. Approximately 600 people from the Church 
in Wales made the journey to Canterbury to see their own 
archbishop take on a new role for the worldwide church.

>From nave and quire

The design of the cathedral dictates creative liturgical 
planning. Under the direction of the Rev. Kevin Goss, precentor 
of Canterbury, the service took place both in the nave and in 
the quire, with the new archbishop giving a blessing from the 
St. Augustine's chair as well as the nave altar.

The renowned choir of men and boys of the cathedral sang the 
church's great hymn of praise, "Te Deum Laudamus," to a setting 
by Benjamin Britten. 

Members of the government were present as was His Royal 
Highness, the Prince of Wales. Security was tight and there has 
been a significant police presence in the precincts of the 
cathedral in recent weeks.

Williams legally became the Archbishop of Canterbury at the 
Confirmation of Election ceremony in St Paul's Cathedral on 
December 2. Today's enthronement service was his formal 
reception and a celebration of the start of his new ministry.

The sermon is available in full on the Anglican Communion web 


Episcopal Life's Nan Cobbey was present at the enthronement and 
her story will appear on Episcopal News Service.

For details about the February 27 broadcast, webcast and video 
of the enthronement of the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, visit 
these web sites:

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