Thinking Anglicans

Consultation launched on membership of the Crown Nominations Commission for future Archbishops of Canterbury

Press release from the Church of England

Consultation launched on membership of the Crown Nominations Commission for future Archbishops of Canterbury
14/01/2022

The Archbishops’ Council has launched a consultation on a proposal to change the make-up of the body which nominates future Archbishops of Canterbury.

The proposal would give the worldwide Anglican Communion a greater voice on the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) for the See of Canterbury.

At present the entire Communion outside of England is represented by just one of the current 16 voting members, compared to six from the Diocese of Canterbury alone.

The proposal would increase the Anglican Communion representatives to five while reducing the number of members from the Diocese to three. As at present, there would also be nine other members from the Church of England, including six elected by General Synod.

The idea originated from the Diocese of Canterbury itself where the Diocesan Synod agreed a motion asking the Archbishops’ Council to consider decrease the representation of the Diocese of Canterbury on future CNCs for the See of Canterbury.

The consultation, which will include key partners from across the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, will run until March 31.

Responses will be collated in the spring with an expectation of a final proposal being put to the General Synod for a vote in July. If approved it would change the Synod’s standing orders, which govern CNCs.

The General Synod, as part of the consultation, will also debate the proposal within the consultation document at its next meeting next month.

Responding to the consultation

  • Download the consultation document. Translations of the document in French, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese will be available in due course. To request a translation, please use the email address below.
  • If you would like to respond, please complete the consultation response document and return it to the email address below. This consultation will close on 31st March 2022.
  • If you have any queries on this consultation, please contact Elise Sandham, Private Secretary to the Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, by email on the address below.
  • canterburycnc.consultation@churchofengland.org
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Froghole
Froghole
5 months ago

A deeply regrettable idea. Another move towards the see of Canterbury becoming a Poundland papacy. Lambeth already has notions of its own worth that are well above its demographic station, and this will just encourage it. Moreover, even more than before, it risks the see (and the wider Church of England) becoming a political football for the Anglican Communion, which is hopelessly and irretrievably riven. In addition, it might encourage the next archbishop to be more intrusive in the affairs of other churches within the Communion, where it has little or no right to interfere: not a ‘progressive’ result. I… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Froghole
5 months ago

Absolutely agree. The direction of travel should be to remove the existing external involvement, not to increase it.

Simon Kershaw
Admin
5 months ago

I agree, this is a really bad move. The Archbishop of Canterbury is not a mini-pope, and his work should be grounded in the diocese of Canterbury. All bishops should see their primary role as the bishop of their diocese — that is the historical position. The press release is rather a tendentious piece of writing — “the entire Communion outside of England is represented by just one of the current 16 voting members, compared to six from the Diocese of Canterbury alone.”. As if that is self-evidently a problem that should be corrected. This needs to be opposed in… Read more »

Bernard Silverman
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
5 months ago

The campaign to get this thrown out by GS (presumably it only needs one of the three houses to vote against) needs to start immediately.

Bernard Silverman
5 months ago

Would this have to go to Parliament for a rubber stamp? If so, should the Ecclesiastical Committee be concerned? Going from one member to more than a blocking third is an enormous jump. How will these five members be appointed? To whom are they actually accountable? How does this fit with the Church of England being the Established Church at all? Should the PM (acting for the Crown) be happy to accept a recommendation from a committee constituted this way?

Kate
Kate
5 months ago

Doesn’t this move mean that it becomes almost impossible for a woman to become Archbishop of Canterbury? And, if we ever do sort out same sex marriage, it certainly means an openly gay bishop would be blocked. Put another way, it makes it much harder for the Church of England to modernise.

One wonders whether, behind the scenes, the present office holder might have encouraged this move?

Simon Drowley
Simon Drowley
Reply to  Kate
5 months ago

I think you’re right about the encouragement of the present office holder. Getting ducks in a row before retirement. It’s reminiscent of when an incumbent tries to get the parish to accept their choice of churchwardens just before they announce they are moving on, to ensure that the “right” people are in place to choose their successor.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
5 months ago

I would have thought General Synod should have more important matters to consider as it starts its work.
Is this pressing? Is the current ABC on his way out?
Opportunity for a Ghanaian ABC? Or +Maidstone??
What place does or should the so-called Anglican Communion have in the work of the General Synod of the CofE?
How is the Bishops’ workstream on deckchair arrangements going?

A Menage
A Menage
5 months ago

Present Archbishop’s almost total lack of visible leadership, and continuing ‘back seat’ policy has surely contributed to these proposals?

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  A Menage
5 months ago

Many thanks, but might it not be the opposite? In other words, that the initiative has emanated from him or his ‘cabinet’, and that it has done so because he has placed a particular premium on the Anglican Communion, what with his emphasis on the ministry of reconciliation in West Africa. We are also told that the initiative might also have emanated from the diocese (Lambeth and the diocese working in symbiosis with each other). My knowledge of the diocese goes back some time. Since the Lambeth Conference was first held at UKC in 1978 (the increasingly preposterous number of… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
5 months ago

Lots in this. Needs homework. Big issues of ecclesiology and what the Anglican Communion is for, and its influence on an individual province, in this case the mother province. Doesn’t require Parliament. The now convention that Downing Street accepts one name doesn’t change the nature of the appointment (a Crown appointment) but doesn’t depend on the process the Church adopts to produce that name, unless it goes mad. Talking of which … The impressive Professor O’Donovan in his group’s influential Discerning in Obedience rather exceeded his brief in this area. Maybe he was encouraged to. I will make a submission,… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Anthony Archer
5 months ago

I now recall that the O’Donovan Terms of Reference did include a reference to the Canterbury CNC. I feel sure it was added, as it was not germane to the central focus on discernment, which essentially addressed issues arising out of the dysfunctional performance of some CNCs during 2012-17. The relevant term is: “(iii) to enable the Commission to understand the nomination of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York within the same context … etc.” In the event, O’Donovan merely noted that the Canterbury CNC was unwieldy in terms of size. He recommended the diocesan six be reduced to two.… Read more »

Andrew Lightbown
Reply to  Anthony Archer
5 months ago

Anthony is quite right. Until we have a clear understanding of the nature and purpose for the communion we shouldn’t start messing around with its “instruments.”

Father David
Father David
5 months ago

Perhaps it’s a bit early and maybe premature to start thinking about the Canterbury Stakes but elsewhere on this blog there is speculation that Justin Welby may retire in 2023 after a decade in office? If so, I reckon it will be a two-horse race to replace him – Cottrell or Mulally.

Charles Clapham
5 months ago

Absolutely dreadful idea. The fact that it is even being considered is indicative so much that is wrong in the current state of the Church of England in its approach to hierarchy, centralisation and subsidiary. What a depressing piece of news!

Julie Withers
Julie Withers
5 months ago

This gives me cause for concern, I haven’t yet found my words to explain why, but it feels very wrong.

Tim Chesterton
5 months ago

Speaking as a member of the Anglican Communion overseas, I’d rather see the presidency of the Communion untethered from Canterbury altogether.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
5 months ago

Not so much the “presidency of the Communion”; rather the presidency of the episcopal conference (i.e., the Lambeth Conference) and of the gatherings of primates. The Communion is an association of member churches, largely bound together by the bonds of love, and the mutual recognition of sacraments and ministerial orders, which themselves are derived via the English Church (with perhaps a spot of Irish lineage thrown in too).

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
5 months ago

Or even a spot of Scottish lineage. But there is no requirement for any of these “presidency” things. And certainly no requirement for them to be English.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
5 months ago

Re Scottish lineage: the Scottish episcopate traces its line through the English, having twice been restored from England, once under James VI & I, and then at the restoration of Charles II.

And whilst the first US bishop, Samuel Seabury, was consecrated to Connecticut by Scottish bishops, it was WIlliam White, consecrated by English bishops, who became the first Presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and therefore the consecrator of nearly all subsequent US bishops. (Though Seabury was, I think, involved in one or two consecrations and his lineage also survives in all current TEC consecrations.)

Bernard Silverman
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
5 months ago

Tim, that is exactly the right way forward. I can’t believe that any other Province would tolerate an arrangement where its primate was appointed by a committee which included a blocking group from outside the province. Think of other political analogies: the electoral college for the US president having a third of members nominated by the UN and NATO? Two hundred members of the UK Parliament nominated by all the other countries in the world? etc. The question to which this is the answer would be solved if the AC chose its own president. If they liked the ABC it… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Bernard Silverman
5 months ago

But let’s not forget that it was not opposition in the General Synod that scuppered the Anglican Covenant. It was diocesan synods, where after a couple of synods had passed it, one chose not to, and suddenly people began to see that it was actually possible to stop it. As diocesan synods met one after another that possibility became a probability and then a reality, each synod spurred to opposition by the earlier ones. I well remember sitting at a table in our meeting, sharing by text and email the results of the various synods meeting that day, and the… Read more »

Michael Camp
Michael Camp
Reply to  Bernard Silverman
5 months ago

Bernard, your analogy concerning the relationship between the US and NATO or the UN may be right….or it may not. The answer depends on what we really believe the Anglican Communion is and what we really believe the role of +Canterbury is; or what a President would be. That’s why those who say we should do the ecclesiology first are right (imho).

Simon Sarmiento
Admin
5 months ago

Charlie Bell has written a good critique here:
The proposals on Canterbury – and why they are wrong
https://forwhom-thebell.blogspot.com/2022/01/the-proposals-on-canterbury-and-why.html

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
5 months ago

Indeed Charlie Bell makes important points

Mark
Mark
5 months ago

I think the role will be split as I doubt the more Conservative countries would take a woman as head of the anglican communion

Andrew Lightbown
5 months ago

If there are to be five representatives why should they all come from outside of the British Isles? The Church in Wales and SEC are not branches of the C of E but distinct provinces, in their own right. They have just as much of a stake in the Anglican Communion, its current and its future,as any other province. Why should they be effectively excluded, if the decision is made to have 5 reps from the wider communion?

Froghole
Froghole
5 months ago

Several astute comments have been made about the ‘presidency’ of the Anglican Communion, and this arising in the context of Lambeth conferences. Quite apart from whether there should be any future Lambeth conferences (and I am of the view that they are a waste of time and generally make relations between the constituent churches of the Anglican Communion worse), I would query why the so-called Anglican Communion need have a ‘president’ at all, still less one who must be archbishop of Canterbury. The very existence of a presidency seems to me to be of nil value. Why not scrap it?… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Froghole
5 months ago

In fairness most of the jet setting is in response to invitations from overseas provinces. They seem to want these “pseudo papal” visits. I suspect this may have started in the time of Pope John Paul 2 ‘s frequent travels. This is a factor surely. And very small Anglican communities probably do feel the need to relate to something outside themselves so that they don’t appear a sect. The 500 or so Anglicans in Uruguay might be an example. The “sell” themselves as part of something worldwide. I remember worshipping with the Lusitanians in 1981 and on entering their church… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Perry Butler
5 months ago

Many thanks, Dr Butler. I got the impression that it was Geoffrey Fisher who started the jet-setting, especially in Africa during the 1950s (from Edward Carpenter’s 1991 biography, and from chapter 7 in this: https://www.routledge.com/Archbishop-Fisher-19451961-Church-State-and-World/Chandler-Hein/p/book/9781409412335). I appreciate that the archbishops are usually invited, but a neo-colonial mentality can cut both ways. For example, I am reminded of the story of Leon Mba, the first president of Gabon, who wanted the French tricolour in the canton of the new Gabonese flag which he presented to Jacques Foccart, de Gaulle’s secretary-general for African and Malagasy affairs, the ubiquitous and sinister lynchpin of… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
5 months ago

Wow.
Certainly the present situation is uncomfortable.
But the way to improve it is not for the Diocese of Canterbury or the Church of England to self-aggrandise.
This notion looks like a “reform” on the road to a more hierarchical Communion. Definitely a bad move.
Timing questions:
1. Isn’t William Nye supposed to be moving on?
2. Isn’t the Archbishop supposed to be moving on soon?
3. Why is this happening _just_ before the Lambeth Conference? Is it meant to head off something?

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
5 months ago

It is difficult to see what this proposal is meant to achieve. Is the idea that it broadens the pool for a new ABC? But surely an ABC has to be able to swear allegiance to the crown, be able to cope with the way the C of E works, speak English etc . Could someone from the wider Communion without experience in England do the job?
I thought that several provinces no longer felt the ABC was an effective Instrument of unity. Surely this is putting the cart before the horse.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
5 months ago

However you discern who should be the next Archbishop of Canterbury whenever there is a vacancy, the fact remain that s/he is Primate of All England, President of the General Synod, Bishop of Canterbury, etc., in addition to being one of the Instruments of Communion (whatever that means). Forget the workload balance. By all means consider candidates from outside the Church of England (that has happened before, and not just for Canterbury), but don’t expect such discernment to result in any radical change to the identity of the next archbishop. The working assumption has always been that the occupant is… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
5 months ago

The pros and cons of this suggestion are formidable. However, as a member of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, which Church was the first in the Anglican Communion to have invited the Faithful laity into its synodical government (and one of the first – before the C. of E.) to ordain women); I think that the A.C. is better without the papal-style of governance, leaving the individual Provinces to chart their own future. Having, myself, been baptized and confirmed in the Diocese of Coventry (and being of Freeman of the City) I have a great… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
5 months ago

The pros and cons of this suggestion are formidable. However, as a member of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, which Church was the first in the Anglican Communion to have invited the Faithful laity into its synodical government (and one of the first – before the C. of E. – to ordain women); I think that the A.C. is better without the papal-style of governance, leaving the individual Provinces to chart their own future. Having, myself, been baptized and confirmed in the Diocese of Coventry (and being of Freeman of the City) I have a… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
5 months ago

This is stir crazy. It is almost as if the ABC is still smarting from the severe spanking the Ghanaian bishops gave him for having had the temerity to criticise their support of homophobic legislation, and is now trying to appease them by offering this ill thought out scheme for consultation. The sooner it is withdrawn, the better.

Tim Chesterton
5 months ago

So far the vast majority of responses on this thread have been from members of the C of E. Very little from those of us in the wider Anglican Communion. Predictably, the English have been negative in their view. I’d like to hear more from others outside of England. Like Father Ron, I value my connection with the C of E (in my case, the Diocese of Leicester, not far from Ron’s birthplace). But the more I interact with it on forums like these, the more I realize how different the Church of England really is from the non-established Anglican… Read more »

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
5 months ago

If 25% of the Archbishop’s workload is relating to the Anglican Communion, does it not make sense to have a greater representation from outside of England? Too many responses here are relating to England alone. It would be good to have more thinking Anglicans from outside of the UK responding to this. I wonder how they feel having their Archbishop elected and having so little say, when a declining Diocese of Canterbury has such a loud voice?

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
5 months ago

From my perspective, and in response to the telling points made by both you and Mr Chesterton, if the Anglican Communion is to have any ‘lead’ it should not be from the see of Canterbury. Indeed, the leadership should not be presumed to emanate from England at all: Anglicanism is in profound decline within England, and that exaggerated authority which English interests exert within the Communion ought therefore to be reduced proportionately. It would be better if the ACC were located other than in England (Jerusalem perhaps?) and that there be an office of president which could rotate amongst the… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin
5 months ago

What, we may ask, is the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Anglican Communion? It is, I think, to be a focus of unity, but only in a very particular sense. The Archbishop is the occupant of the see with which the other bishops of the Communion are in communion. By being in communion with the Archbishop they are in communion with each other, and indirectly through our diocesan bishops we are in communion with each other. That’s all there is to it. Of course Canterbury happens to be one of the oldest sees – but it is… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
5 months ago

Surely the See of York (Eboracum) must be one of the oldest in these islands, given the bishop was recorded as present at councils in the 4th century? Unless one wishes to argue discontinuity, but that would mean dating all CofE dioceses no later than the Restoration.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Jo B
5 months ago

Paulinus is generally listed as the first bishop of York, in 627, 30 years after the start of Augustine’s mission in 597.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
5 months ago

Are the records of the bishop of York attending the Council of Arles in 314 considered false, then?

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
5 months ago

You don’t need to be a staunch atheist or disestablishmentarian to think that having an Archbishop of Canterbury who is (a) not largely nominated and approved by British citizens but (b) has an ex-officio seat in the upper chamber might raise some issues. At the moment, de facto, although not so far as I know de jure, the ABC is a British citizen appointed by people who have the right to vote in the UK. If the nomination and approval process were decoupled from geographic Canterbury, you would have the approval and, potentially, the archbishop himself being someone not eligible… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Interested Observer
5 months ago

I wonder how many people making these comments are aware of the Archbishop’s numerous other roles and duties. The Wikipedia entry for ‘Archbishop of Canterbury’ lists 34 related to Christian bodies and educational bodies of Christian foundation in England alone. He also ranks first in the order of precedence in England and Wales after the members of the Royal Family. I suppose it’s not impossible (I can’t comment on legality), for a non-UK subject to assume all of those roles, but it seems a highly improbable concept. Membership of the House of Lords is ex officio which ceases on retirement,… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago

As I said, the easiest solution to these issues is to change the convention that the ‘leader’ of the Anglican Communion always has to be the Archbishop of Canterbury. What that says to the rest of the Anglican world is “Your leader will always be British.” Hmm.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Interested Observer
5 months ago

Excellent point, as usual, Interested Observer. Erskine May has this to say (at 1.02): “By the Act of Settlement 1701 “no person born out of the Kingdoms of England, Scotland or Ireland, or the Dominions thereunto belonging … (except such as are born of English parents)” may be a member of the House of Lords. By virtue of a modification contained in the British Nationality Act 1981, this provision does not apply to Commonwealth citizens or citizens of the Republic of Ireland. Under the 1981 Act, “Commonwealth citizen” means a British citizen, a British Overseas Territories citizen, a British subject… Read more »

Patrick Cain
Patrick Cain
Reply to  Froghole
5 months ago

Also, Canadians are forbidden under Canadian law from accepting titles of nobility. (This created complicated problems for Conrad Black when he wanted to sit in the House of Lords, which you can Google.)

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Patrick Cain
5 months ago

Many thanks. Titles are not forbidden under Canadian law, as far as I am aware. It is a mere convention. The Nickle Resolution (1917) was only a resolution of the House of Commons. R. B. Bennett reintroduced titular honours towards the end of his 1930-35 ministry (Bennett accepted a viscounty for himself and is buried to the south of the nave at Mickleham in Surrey, where he lived close to his old New Brunswick crony, Beaverbrook, who was at Cherkeley). A Canadian becoming archbishop would not be accepting a title of nobility. A lord spiritual is a lord of parliament,… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Admin
5 months ago

The wording of the Canterbury Diocesan Synod motion in 2015: “That this Synod (the Canterbury Diocesan Synod) requests the Archbishops’ Council to bring to the General Synod the necessary changes to its Standing Orders and the Vacancy in See Committee Regulation to:  • Extend the functions of the Crown Nominations Commission so that its duty to consider any vacancy in a diocesan bishopric include the See of Dover. The See of Canterbury will always need to be voting with the majority who choose the new Bishop of Dover;  • Reduce the number of members elected by the Vacancy in See… Read more »

Maggie
Maggie
5 months ago

The Anglican Communion is surely the last gasp of colonialism. Anglican churches throughout the world are perfectly capable of running themselves to their own satisfactions. Nor does the C of E need yet another complicated, time wasting institution whose time is up to service. We can maintain friendly relations, as we do with so many churches and denominations, without the machinery of the Lambeth Conference and its attendant problems, not least the latest one.

Simon Sarmiento
Admin
2 months ago

The consultation closes today. I have just submitted my own personal response, which is opposed not merely to any increase, but also to the existing provision of a single Communion representative. I see no justification for any such to exist. As I stated two months ago.

Last edited 2 months ago by Simon Sarmiento
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