I am saddened that Rowan has announced his departure, although after 10 years in the no-win hot seat I don't blame him one little bit. As far as I was concerned he was genuinely the ideal candidate for the job because I believe he genuinely didn't seek the post. He also proved to be a heart and soul advocate for a Church engaging missionally with the wider world, and he did so without conforming to a single stereotype of Churchmanship. I don't see that in the yet mentioned "heavyweight candidates".
I spoke to him once - asking how the family had settled into life at Lambeth Palace, he muttered something and then scurried shyly away. I also stood next to him as he humbly queued like everyone else for his coffee at a conference. His wife, Jane, is probably the nicest person in the Universe and a joy to be taught by.
I assume he saw the Anglican Covenant being rejected even on his home turf, and so confirmed the rumours from last year that he would step down early as there was no point flogging a dead horse. I am sorry to see him go. I am even sorrier for how the obituary to the idea of the Covenant is being portrayed. Writing in The Guardian, Diarmaid MacCulloch seems to think that the Anglican Church can start afresh, as if the Covenant was the thing that started the problem and that those opposing the Covenant are agreed on their reasons for not liking it (I don't know the exact split but it has been rejected by those who think it does not go far enough, not just by those who see it as too draconian). Sadly I think Bishop Alan Wilson also misses a serious point when he advocates continued dialogue. It has been as much ECUSA which has avoided dialogue and acted unilaterally which precipitated the situation as those who have taken their bats home elsewhere in the world.
I voted in favour of the Anglican Covenant locally because I saw in it an entirely Christ-like sense of limiting my own options for self-determination in favour of accepting a mutual responsibility. In this process I saw a framework for the continued and committed dialogue that Bishop Alan called for. However, I think we also need to be honest enough to admit that simple dialogue is not sufficient between groupings where the starting points for the debate are so markedly at odds.
I wish those who had taken provocative action on all sides could get together and offer us a better alternative.
I do not see the one issue of how and what we agree over sexuality as the make or break mark of doctrinal correctness, but I do see the loss of a man with mission so clearly on his agenda as Rowan is a very great loss indeed.