Thinking Anglicans

Andrew Brown reviews the candidates for Canterbury

Andrew Brown has written an article for today’s Guardian headlined Archbishop of Canterbury succession race begins in earnest.

Next Wednesday, four women and 15 men on the Crown Nominations Commission will gather for two days of prayer and horsetrading to replace Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury. We know who they are, and when they will meet – but not where, so they can’t be doorstepped.

Only three members of the commission, chaired by the former Conservative arts minister Lord Luce, are bishops. One of the women and two of the men have no vote, but are there to advise. Five, including one of the women, are priests. The rest are lay people. Almost all the parties of the church are represented and there is even Dr Barry Morgan, a Welshman, to represent the rest of the world for the first time in this process. They will pick two names to present to the prime minister, who is bound to choose the first, unless he proves unable to take the job…

Update Now Charles Moore at the Telegraph has written The last thing the Church of England needs is a pleasant middle manager.

Who would you like to be your next Archbishop of Canterbury? You may think this an odd way to put it. You may be Muslim, Jewish, Roman Catholic, atheist, or just vague. How can the Archbishop of Canterbury belong to you?

Yet if you live in England, he does. The Church of England is “by law established”, and so it is there for any citizen who wants it. The Queen is the Church’s Supreme Governor, and her people, regardless of what they believe, are its people. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who stands at the Church’s head, must serve them. He belongs to them.

But we shall not choose him. This process is nowadays controlled by something referred to, with varying degrees of affection, as the Wash House. The Wash House is the old laundry of Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop’s London residence, and it is now inhabited by the Crown Nominations Committee (CNC). If it has dirty linen, it does not wash it in public: next week, the CNC will meet at a secret location to consider its shortlist and try to come up with two names – the first being its choice, the second being its “appointable candidate” if things go wrong – for who, at the end of this year, should succeed Rowan Williams and become the 105th man (the law still requires it be a man) to sit on the throne of St Augustine…

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Father DavidPerry ButlerFeriaJeremy HummerstoneAlastair Cutting Recent comment authors
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Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

Good article, but he is hardly sticking his neck out with a prediction of the result! Wise observers note that George Carey was unknown and not in the running in 1991. However, that was then and this is now. The Anglican Communion is a mess and the Church at home has significant challenges facing it. +Dunelm is special, but it would not be fair to him. However, few serving diocesans will have made it known that they are not candidates, believing in the power of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of the Commission (in that order). If he had… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Does anyone know , when it gets to a shortlist of ( say) 5, the method by which the Commission actually makes the choice? By elimination? And who decides who is considered first etc?

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

@ Butler: the Commission votes. The principal requirement (think its in the General Synod Constitution) is that a nomination needs to command the support of two thirds of the voting members. With the augmented Canterbury CNC that means 11 (out of 16). Once they have got down to four or five, they start voting on the basis of elimination. Each member rank orders the candidates, and the candidate with the least number of votes drops out and the process is repeated. Once they get down to two, the key question is whether one of the candidates has enough votes, in… Read more »

Jonathan Jennings
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Jonathan Jennings

Not quite true to say that Carey was unknown or unpredicted; there was a book ‘Believing Bishops’ published around the time of the vacancy which speculated that the CAC might take a risk with Carey. I had a copy somewhere & will try and track it down …

Although not widely thought to be in the running, he was certainly making the evangelicals’ wish lists for greater things …

John
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John

The very last thing the C of E, or the Anglican Communion, or any church (vid. Martini’s comments on the Vatcian) needs is an evangelical person with no ability to think – or communicate – outside the box (both the doctrinal and the establishment box). That rules out Sentamu,Welby, Wright(who would be an utter disaster), and Chartres. Jones has shown courage and a capacity to develop. I hope he ‘wins’, and I think he may. How does he treat his ‘traditionalists’?

Ben
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Ben

+Jones was curate of a huge conservative evangelical church in Bristol where friends of mine were students in the 80s and then vicar of a large evangelical church in Croydon in the early 90s. One imagines that ministry in Liverpool, building on the legendary ministry of +David Sheppard has in itself developed new courage in him and greatly widened his experience.

Alastair Newman
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That Charles Moore article is undeniably awful. Wistfully mourning that “Downing Street has become little more than the Church’s forwarding address for Buckingham Palace” for me shows a huge bias towards a conservative party at prayer Church of England than, I don’t know, the teachings of the Church’s founder. The quest for human rights for gay people is grossly caricatured as “small numbers of rich, liberal, mainly American whites infuriating much larger numbers of poor, conservative, mainly African blacks”. Portraying this argument as the Episcopal church in the US against, say, the Ugandans and the Nigerians is facile. Do we,… Read more »

Feria
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Feria

Anthony: “under the new arrangements the PM is bound to accept the first name”

As I understand it, those “new arrangements” were only proposed in a green paper, never actually enacted.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

@ Feria: It was a green paper on a range of constitutional issues, but so far as the appointment of diocesans was concerned, Downing Street now adopts the same convention as has been in place for the appointment of suffragans for a long time. Being a convention, there was no requirement to enact anything. All appointments of diocesans since then have been on this basis, and there is no distinction for Canterbury. However, the appointments still remain Crown appointments.

Feria
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Feria

Alastair: ‘What about the gay Africans (Christians or no) who are in danger of death because of their sexuality, the African churches largely being in support of that death?’

Alastair, is there a convenient place where one can find information on exactly which Churches (African or otherwise) are reasonably suspected of supporting or inciting homophobic violence, and what the evidence against them is?

Feria
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Feria

Thanks Anthony – but I observe that the convention in question was agreed in 2007, under the special circumstances where a Presbyterian Prime Minister was in office, and was reluctant [*] to become directly involved in Church of England recruitment decisions. Is there any guarantee that the convention still applies under a new Prime Minister?

[*] His reluctance was understandable, but in my view, unnecessary. After all, the sky didn’t fall in in 1974, when a Congregationalist Prime Minister chose an Archbishop of Canterbury.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Feria,
you could contact Changing Attitude and Changing Attitude in Nigeria, they’re rather well informed on what happens in Africa.

Alastair Newman
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Feria, You may not feel it is the same thing, but Archbishops Peter Akinola of Nigeria and Henry Orombi of Uganda failure to condemn violence against gay people at GAFCON has been taken by some as tacit support: http://www.speroforum.com/a/23193/For-some-Anglicans-Vices-are-now-Virtues Kampala’s Daily Monitor reports that the Catholic Church in Uganda is calling for the shelved anti-gay law (which included the death penalty under certain circumstances) to be revived: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Bishops+want+shelved+anti+gay+Bill+dusted/-/688334/1424158/-/item/0/-/erfgenz/-/index.html The newly appointed Archbishop of Uganda is reported here as stating that although he doesn’t support the death penalty for homosexuality, gaol is appropriate: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/06/25/new-archbishop-of-uganda-called-gays-unacceptable-but-opposed-death-penalty-bill/ As Erika said, Changing Attitude should be… Read more »

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

@ Feria (2): Being a convention, I don’t think one PM could bind another, any more than Parliament can bind its successors. However, the reality is that Downing Street has accepted the first name for years, but only recently has agreed that it will automatically accept the first name (i.e. will deny itself a choice). This is the so-called Callaghan Agreement of 1977(?), arising (late in the day) from the Chadwick Commission of 1970. The two occasions when it would seem Downing Street did intervene was in 1987 when Mark Santer was appointed to Birmingham ahead of Jim Thompson, because… Read more »

Commentator
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Commentator

I am amazed that Mr Archer should think that Dr Sentamu is not just the ONLY viable candidate but that he should think him viable at all. Dr Sentamu has made scandalous statements about homosexual men and women within and without the Church. Hearing him speak now about the House of Bishops’ response to the introduction of Civil Partnerships makes one wonder if he has a very loose relationship with the truth and historical facts. Perhaps it would be good for those charged with choosing Dr Williams’ successor to look at what Dr Sentamu has put together at Bishopthorpe and… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Thanks Anthony Archer. it suggests to me that with 6 votes the diocesan representatives ( esp as they are led by the Bishop of Dover who currently has pretty free rein in the diocese) will get who they want if they have an agreed strategy and a common mind. I am told that is how Chatres became bishop of London..and there were only 4 dioceasan reps then. Interesting to see John Inge of Worcester mentioned..unlikely I think, but he was my dark horse candidate..though I think the Guardian article labelled him wrongly as a conservative..more an updated liberal catholic in… Read more »

Pete Broadbent
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Pete Broadbent

Perry is right that if the Diocesan Reps vote as a bloc and get some of the permanent members on board, they can outvote the establishment members of the CNC (which is what happened both times I was on the Commission). I suspect that this time round, the four bishops on the CNC may take the lead…

David Lamming
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David Lamming

“Believing Bishops”, the book by Simon Lee and Peter Stanford published in 1990 and referred to in Jonathan Jennings’s post on Saturday, makes interesting reading in the light of the current speculation as to who the CNC will recommend for appointment as the new ABC. I quote from pages 184-185: “The favourite to succeed Robert Runcie as Archbishop of Canterbury, if the clergy or laity were allowed to vote, would be Bishop Carey of Bath and Wells. Why? Eighty per cent of the Church of England come from the low-church Protestant tradition, and Bishop Carey is one of the few… Read more »

Alastair Cutting
Guest

Perry, Anthony, Feria: Two names are still required to go forward, despite the convention that the first is accepted. (This can also be in case there are health or other personal reasons why the first placed candidate may not take up the post.) It could be that choosing the second candidate is more complex than choosing the first…

Jeremy Hummerstone
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Jeremy Hummerstone

“Dr Barry Morgan, a Welshman, to represent the rest of the world”
There’s grand!

Feria
Guest
Feria

Thank you, Erika, both Alastairs, and Anthony.

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

I think Bishop Pete may well be right..the four bishops if they were all agreed would certainly be a powerful influence. It struck me after I had posted that the diocesan 6 ( if united) might be more a means of stopping a particular person rather than getting a particular person, if you see what I mean. Getting the second name might well prove difficult..though I imagine with interviews now it must be known whether a particular person would turn it down. If it is true that the announcement will be made soon it suggests the shortlist may have had… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

I think that the possible early announcement of the identity of the new Archbishop of Canterbury – “next week” may well be timed to prevent leakage. If you recall last time – the Press announced that it was to be Rowan Williams weeks before an official announcement was made. So it seems to be a case of the sooner the better.