This week’s Church Times has a leader on the CNC situation, headlined ‘At the limit of what is realistic’. Its final paragraph reads as follows:
…If there exists a systemic reason for the lack of an appointment so far, a better place to look would be the office that the CNC is trying to fill. There have been two recent reviews of the post: To Lead and to Serve: A review of the see of Canterbury, also 2001 (the Hurd report), and Resourcing Archbishops, 2002 (the second Mellows report). The latter begins: “The demands upon and the expectations of the Archbishops are at the very limit of what is realistic. The jobs are approaching the point at which they will become impossible.” Despite these reviews, too little has changed. The abilities of Dr Williams have disguised, to a degree, some of these impossibilities. The cost is incalculable, being paid in decisions made too hastily, consultations unsought, mission opportunities declined, and, of course, personal wear and tear. It is not enough to invoke the aid of the Holy Spirit in the choice of Dr Williams’s successor, nor even to sustain whoever is chosen. The Spirit of grace and freedom has something to say, too, about the demands made upon individuals. Several recommendations from those earlier reports remain on the table. This might be time to look at them afresh, so that he who is eventually appointed may approach the office with not so heavy a heart.
For a lot more on the Hurd report, see here.
For more about the second Mellows report, see Resourcing Archbishops and also Resourcing Archbishops in the 21st century. There is also my own article about it: Resourcing Archbishops: Anglican Communion angles.