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Rene Kinzett

Rowan Williams Conferred the Freedom of the City & County of Swansea

July 31st, 2010 by René Kinzett

Speech by Councillor René Kinzett, Leader of the Conservative Group, City & County of Swansea, in the Guildhall Council Chamber, Swansea, on the occasion of the conferring of the Freedom of the City & County of Swansea on the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, Saturday 31 July 2010…

Your Grace, Lord Mayor, Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriff,  My Lords, Distinguished Guests.

It gives me great pleasure to support the motion that the City & County of Swansea confers the Honorary Freedom of the City & County of Swansea on The Most Reverend and Right Honourable The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England and Metropolitan, Dr Rowan Williams.

Your Grace:

We are truly honoured and humbled at the conferring of the Freedom of the City upon you this day.

This is an honour for Swansea, and one that the whole city will want to rejoice in: that a Dynevor schoolboy can return to this Hall as the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of All England. The first Welshman to succeed St Augustine of Canterbury and the first Archbishop to be appointed from outside the Church of England since the mid-thirteenth century.

The importance of the written record and history is not lost on Your Grace. We visited your London residence, the historic and beautiful Lambeth Palace to see the Treasures of Lambeth Exhibition. Reading King James I’s own hand written commentary, in the margin of a book rejecting the case being made for greater religious tolerance, we know that history will record that Your Grace was thankfully at the fore of promoting tolerance, understanding and cooperation amongst the religions and peoples of this world.

What also struck me about the Exhibition was the diversity of the collections held at Lambeth. Not just the history of the church, or of Christianity or other religions, but of wider social, political and international affairs. History will also record that Your Grace is, thankfully, not unknown in terms of his own contributions to debate on domestic and international issues.

Today’s commentators may take issue with what they see as “controversial” positions taken by Your Grace, but such analysis is often based on misunderstandings or deliberate mischief making. The future archives of Lambeth Palace will, no doubt, provide historians with a fascinating glimpse of your time as Archbishop.

The pride that the people of Swansea take in seeing a son of the City holding such high office is reflected in today’s conferring of the Freedom, an honour Your Grace richly deserves.

Lord Mayor, I support the Motion.