The Telegraph has a report this morning: Archbishop of York to be considered for Canterbury by Jonathan Wynne-Jones and John Bingham.
Dr John Sentamu has repeatedly refused to confirm whether or not he would be throwing his hat into the ring to lead the Church of England when Dr Williams steps down later this year.
But last night it emerged that he had stepped down from the body responsible for the appointment – meaning that he can formally be considered.
It follows mounting speculation that the 62-year old archbishop would not stand as a candidate due to his age and recent bouts of poor health.
The Ugandan-born prelate has also been the target of a whispering campaign since Dr Williams announced his resignation, which some supporters claim is partly motivated by racism within the Church.
His decision to stand aside from the Commission, the group of clergy and churchgoers who secretly choose bishops and archbishops, confirms him as a front-runner for the most senior job in the Church of England…
Yesterday the Sunday Telegraph had reported this: Archbishop of York victim of ‘naked racism’, claims ally by Richard Eden, and Edward Malnick along with this editorial comment: Toxic whispers in the Church.
…People from many different backgrounds have reached high office in the Church in recent years. But these charges are given some credence by the unfortunate phrases employed by two senior churchmen interviewed by one of our reporters. They both referred to Dr Sentamu’s ethnic background in a way which made it appear that they thought it would cause problems were he to become the Church’s primate. One suggested that Dr Sentamu had the temperament of “an African chief”.
It is an unhappy truth that allegations of racism sometimes surface during an appointment process, and can be deployed as a crude form of blackmail: “Pick this candidate, or be branded a racist.” We hope that is not happening here. But the Church of England needs to establish that the process of choosing its most senior prelate is not going to be distorted by corrosive allegations, and also that it is genuinely free of the taint of racism.
The original article by Arun Arora to which reference is made was previously reported here.
Other media reactions today to these reports:
Independent Church plays down racism claim
…A spokesman for the Church of England said: “The blog from Arun Arora quoted in the story is a month old and has already been widely quoted in a range of publications.”
Northern Echo Archbishop says he has never experienced racism
THE Archbishop of York says he has never experienced racism from fellow clergymen, despite comments from a retired bishop that he would be “unsuitable for the church’s top post because he is quite tribal and the African chief thing comes through”.
Dr John Sentamu says he will not comment on speculation following a story in a Sunday newspaper in which two bishops questioned his suitability to be the successor to Rowan Williams as the next Archbishop of Canterbury…
The Yorkshire Post has Church bids to allay racism fear over Sentamu’s hopes of top job.
…The Church of England confirmed it was aware of Mr Arora’s blog, and added: “There is a comprehensive process for selecting the next Archbishop of Canterbury, details of which are available online, and involves an extensive consultation process.”
…An aide said: ‘He would like to make it clear that he has never experienced racist views from within the Church – and no one within the Church has made such comments to him publicly or privately before.’
The allegations mean that the race to succeed Dr Rowan Williams as leader of the CofE and the worldwide Anglican Communion has descended into harsh abuse in little more than a month…