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Dr Williams says farewell

23 November 2012

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In line: people queue to attend Dr Williams's farewell at Canterbury, on Sunday

In line: people queue to attend Dr Williams's farewell at Canterbury, on Sunday

MORE than 2000 people crammed into choral evensong in Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday evening to mark the Archbishop of Canter­bury's diocesan farewell.

After the service the Archbishop, with the Dean and Chapter, processed out of the cathedral before returning for a series of emotionally charged presentations.

The Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, told the Archbishop: "You leave us with love, encouragement, and a longing to hear more." A Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, Amanda Cottrell, praised Dr Williams for the "quiet and determined way you have served us".

Spontaneous standing ovations occurred during Dr Williams's valedictory speech, in which he said that the diocese had brought him "the reality of actual people leading lives of discipleship and ministry, and just getting on", for which he thanked God. He said that when he visited parishes in the diocese, he would ask: "What good news do you have for me?" And he said: "I have been richly and positively answered. I have been privileged to share the hope and abundant love in the diocese."

He told the congregation: "Without your friendship, love, and fellowship, I can't imagine how the last ten years would have been bearable or fruitful."

The service marked the end of Dr Williams's public work in the diocese. He will preach at the main Christmas Day eucharist, and will hand over the diocesan crosier after a service at the end of December that marks the feast of Thomas Becket.

The day before the diocesan farewell, Dr Williams received the Freedom of the City of Canterbury in recognition of his work in the local community.

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