The Crown Nominations Commission is now interviewing candidates. This was done for the first time last week, when candidates for Bradford were interviewed. This was announced by the Archbishop of York at General Synod in February this year, but we failed to pick it up at the time. The Archbishop’s statement is included in the Report of Proceedings: Volume 41 No.1 (February 2010) (pages 97 and 98). I have copied it below the fold. My thanks go to the Archbishops’ Senior Appointments Adviser for drawing my attention to this.
I have described the full process for appointing diocesan bishops here.
There is also a very useful Briefing for Members of Vacancy in See Committees prepared by the Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary which also describes the process, although this has not yet been updated to include the interviews.
Crown Nominations Commission
The Archbishop of York (Dr John Sentamu): I would like to make a statement about the work of the Crown Nominations Commission and the role of interviews in the discernment process.
Longer-serving members of the General Synod will be aware that consideration of the role of interviews as part of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) process has been ongoing since 2002. The report Working with the Spirit (GS 1405) recommended that the CNC process should not include interviews but, when the Synod debated the report, it requested that the candidates considered at the second CNC meeting should be interviewed before a vote is taken.
In July 2003, my predecessor Archbishop David Hope made a statement explaining the decision of the Commission’s central members not to implement this at that time but gave an undertaking that they would continue to keep the issue under review.
In 2007, at the end of their period of service, the then central members reviewed their position and again decided not to introduce interviewing at that time. The debate was left open-ended, however, in order to allow the ‘new’ central members of the CNC to pursue discussions, if necessary. At the July 2008 group of sessions I indicated that the central members of the CNC would make a decision either way about interviews and inform Synod at the February 2010 group of sessions.
The existing group of central members, during their two-and-a-half years of service, have continued to monitor the discernment processes of the CNC and, taking into account the views of diocesan members, have decided to pilot the introduction of interviews. Candidates will also be asked to make a presentation and to give a homily. The central members will make a report to Synod in two years’ time with an evaluation of this new step in the process.
The central members were very clear that an interview will be but one step in the discernment of who might be called to a particular see. As members of Synod are aware, there are a number of other stages, including the nomination of candidates; the work of vacancy in see committees and the two Appointment Secretaries in determining the needs of the diocese; the role of the Crown and Her Majesty’s Government; the paperwork provided by candidates and the deliberations of the Commission itself; the individual’s consideration of the position and then the election of the candidate; the confirmation of the election and, where the candidate is not already in episcopal orders, his consecration. These are all significant stages in the discernment process and it is important that the interview does not dominate that process.
The interviews will be held at the second meeting of the Commission. As members of the Synod are aware, there are a number of episcopal vacancies currently under consideration and, having reviewed the stages of the vacancy in see process, it has been decided that the first see to be considered under these arrangements will be Bradford in the autumn of this year.