Crete – Greece: Anglican Archdeacon Colin Williams will be new General Secretary of CEC (6 June 2005)
The Venerable Colin Williams, Anglican Archdeacon of Lancaster, England, will be the new General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) starting December 2005. The current General Secretary of CEC, Dr. Keith Clements, will retire at the end of November 2005 after eight years of service.
Archdeacon Williams was elected today by the Central Committee of CEC, meeting 3-10 June in Aghios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece.
The new General Secretary of CEC was born in 1952. Prior to his ordination he practised as a lawyer and then studied theology at Oxford. Ordained in 1981, he has served in parishes in the North West of England and as chaplain to the Bishop of Blackburn. He has held the position of Archdeacon of Lancaster, in the diocese of Blackburn since 1999. He is the Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education as well as the European Link Officer and Rural Officer for his diocese. He is a member of the Meissen Commission, which works towards full, visible unity between the Church of England and the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). He is also a member of the General Synod of the Church of England, and of the General Synod Council for Christian Unity.
His pastoral work included encouraging parishes to work in partnership with each other and with their surrounding communities and to bring mission and outreach to the centre of their life. In his parish ministry he has encouraged local ecumenical relationships; and in the parish in which he most recently served was instrumental in enabling the sharing of a church building by Anglican and Roman Catholic congregations. He has played a leading part in building up the ecumenical partnership between the Diocese of Blackburn and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Braunschweig, Germany. He speaks German and French.
Archdeacon Williams comments: “I am very excited at the prospect of working as part of the CEC team. Europe stands at a crossroads. Throughout our continent women and men are entering into debate about the sort of Europe we must now build. The churches of Europe have a distinct contribution to make to that debate as we argue for a Europe which is open, which is compassionate, which is just, which above all is in touch with its spiritual heritage. In short, in our continent the Gospel of Jesus Christ needs to be heard and to be lived out. CEC has done so much since its launch in 1959 to enable the churches of Europe to grow in fellowship with each other. That means that we have been able more and more to act together and to speak with one voice. I feel myself very privileged to be invited to play my part in enabling that work of bringing together the churches of our continent to develop and grow”.
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