Sunday, 30 September 2012

More about the Crown Nominations Commission

Updated yet again Sunday 4.50 pm

The Church Times has republished its earlier article with a new headline: No agreement at the CNC.

THE Crown Nominations Commission (CNC), which met last week to choose a new Archbishop of Canterbury, has been unable to agree on the two names it submits to the Prime Minister. A short statement put out by the C of E communications department on Friday does not admit this as such, but this is the only reasonable interpretation of the phrase: “The work of the Commission continues.”

All meetings of the CNC are confidential, and it was a new departure this time to let it be known that a meeting was taking place. Church House staff were careful beforehand not to be drawn on whether this was the CNC’s final meeting, with good reason as it now appears…

…The rules for the CNC state that its 16 voting members must be two-thirds in favour of each of the two candidates submitted to the Prime Minister, i.e. the favoured man must secure 11 votes.

The reference in the statement to an autumn announcement indicates that another meeting will be scheduled soon.

Further press speculation can be found in several places:

Sunday Telegraph Cole Moreton and Edward Malnick Critics attack ‘secrecy’ of Archbishop selection

Mail on Sunday Jonathan Petre Hunt for next Archbishop reaches deadlock after ‘snubbing’ frontrunner Sentamu and
A N Wilson Our C of E is a cracked old antique - and if we chose the wrong Archbishop it might fall apart in his hands

Guardian Caroline Davies Archbishop of Canterbury succession talks ‘deadlocked’

Sunday Times Jonathan Wynne-Jones Church split over Sentamu

The above link is not to the complete article, however the following one tells us what is in it.

Reuters Anglican church deadlocked over new leader: report

…According to the Sunday Times, the panel has a three name shortlist:

  • Bishop of Norwich Graham James, 61, a keen amateur actor and cricketer who said last week he would “hope and pray” someone else gets the job.
  • Archbishop of York John Sentamu, 63, a Ugandan-born traditionalist who holds the second most senior post in the Church of England and writes a column for the Sun newspaper.
  • Bishop of Durham Justin Welby, 56, a former oil industry executive who has been a bishop for less than a year…

BBC Sunday programme podcast dated today can be downloaded here. Item starts 29.5 minutes in and runs for about 7 minutes.

BBC New Archbishop of Canterbury decision ‘may take months’

The choice of a successor to Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury may not take place for several months, the Church of England has said.

It comes after speculation that the latest meeting of the panel given the task of nominating a new Church leader had not chosen a candidate.

Officials reiterated that the work of choosing a successor could go on throughout the autumn.

Dr Williams will step down in December after 10 years in the post.

The most recent meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission set up to choose Dr Williams’ successor ended on Friday evening and it has not ruled out holding further meetings.

No announcement was expected this weekend as any successful candidate would have to be endorsed by the prime minister and the Queen.

However, in response to intense speculation that the commission had failed to agree a candidate the Church confirmed that the decision could take several weeks or even months to emerge.

Officials stressed that the group had all of autumn to decide, conceding only that it would want to avoid having no-one to replace Dr Williams when he steps down at the end of the year.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 30 September 2012 at 7:32am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

If stalemate or deadlock really has resulted at the last meeting of the CNC - then why not have a period of interregnum in order to reflect thoughtfully and prayerfully on who should succeed the saintly Rowan? After all - in a bid to economise many dioceses seems to positively encourage long interregnums in parishes - often of two years or more - in order to save on stipends. That is unless the benefice becomes a "House for Duty" parish - as the number of these former livings seem to grow by the week in the advert columns of the Church Times. Now, there's a thought - why not a "Palace (or two) for Duty" for the next ABC?

Posted by: Father David on Sunday, 30 September 2012 at 2:10pm BST

The proper Church authorities could order cots and a creaky old stove, invite the CNC to Lambeth Palace, and seal the CNC members in a locked room. No fancy meals, no football games on the telly, no telly, no newspapers, just minutes of the last century's worth of prior CNC meetings or its predecessors. They take a vote twice a day, and then burn straw in the creaky old stove. When white smoke comes out, ... we have a new Archbishop of Canterbury!

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Sunday, 30 September 2012 at 6:37pm BST

I'm a little surprised about the mention of the 3 names supposedly in the running. Is this pure speculation or has there been a leak?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 30 September 2012 at 6:47pm BST

It sounds as if there has been a leak, Erika. It might appear that the CNC process is as prone to leaks as when Colin Slee wrote his account of the Southwark process, released by his family after his death ( and But at least the most senior clergy cannot unjustly blame Colin this time.

Posted by: Savi Hensman on Sunday, 30 September 2012 at 8:04pm BST

We could always ask the Bishop of Dover to shepherd the Diocese of Canterbury for a couple of years and see if anyone notices that we don't have an ABC...!

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Sunday, 30 September 2012 at 8:30pm BST

@Erica. The names are almost certainly right. The question is whether they cannot agree any name (the worse problem) or cannot agree the second. The process is now asymmetric. The PM only wants one name: the CNC has to agree two, and then (usually) make a preference. The process is Byzantine.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Sunday, 30 September 2012 at 10:26pm BST

Has anyone noticed that for roughly the last century and a half a seeming qualification to be ABC is to have an unapostolic name? Rowan, George, Robert, Donald, Michael (saintly but not apostolic - even that was his second Christian name), Geoffrey, William, Cosmo, Randall, Frederick, Edward, Archibald and Charles. The last ABC with an apostolic name was John Bird Sumner who became Primate of All England in 1848. In all in previous centuries there have been 10 Johns - 8 Thomases - 4 Simons and 2 Matthews. If the unapostolic trend continues it looks like we may end up with Richard (London), Graham (Norwich) or Christopher (Coventry) from among the "front runners". However - if we revert to what pertained in previous centuries with many ABCs bearing apostolic names it may well be John (Ebor), Thomas (the previous Dunelm) or James (Liverpool). The "dark horse" in all of this is, of course, Justin, the present Dunelm who has barely been in office for 12 months! Alternatively we could put all the names in a box on the High Altar of Canterbury cathedral and allow a five year old child to pick a name out of the box - the preferred method adopted by the Coptic Church in Egypt in selecting a new pope.

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 1 October 2012 at 9:26am BST

I believe before the child picks from three names, those three names have been very securely determined via a thorough process.

I suspect that when the dust settles there will be a new ABC within a month. Probably Welby.

Then the job begins in earnest.

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 1 October 2012 at 1:00pm BST

Just musing - does it *have* to be a person already (long) in episcopal orders? If the Roman church could call an almost unknown, at least to most of the country, monk from Ampleforth (oh, all right, an abbot) ..., why should not the CofE call an only-just-moved-on Dean or even a present Dean come to that (the one at St. Albans springs readily to my mind)?

Posted by: RPNewark on Monday, 1 October 2012 at 3:26pm BST

BBC: 'Officials stressed that the group had all of autumn to decide, conceding only that it would want to avoid having no-one to replace Dr Williams when he steps down at the end of the year'

Even if the current Prime Minister does accept, in principle, his predecessor's "always pick the first name" convention, I think it would be very discourteous of the CNC to leave him too short a thinking time.

Posted by: Feria on Monday, 1 October 2012 at 9:03pm BST
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