New Archbishop of Canterbury to be chosen

 
Rowan Williams Dr Williams is stepping down after 10 years

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Church officials are preparing to decide who will be the new Archbishop of Canterbury, ahead of Dr Rowan Williams stepping down in December.

The Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) has started its three-day meeting to select the best man for the top job in the Church of England.

Dr Williams, 61, was appointed the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002.

The decision comes as a BBC poll suggests there has been general public approval of his leadership.

Who is in the running?

Runners and riders

The selection will bring to an end a period of intense lobbying by Anglicans who believe the new archbishop will be taking over at a critical time in the Church's history.

There is no time limit for the decision, which will be made by 16 voting members of the commission, including clergy and lay people. No date for the announcement has been set.

The new archbishop will be a man as no decision has even been made yet on whether women should be able to be ordained as bishops in the Church of the England.

Contenders for the post include Bishop of London Richard Chartres, Bishop of Coventry Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Norwich Graham James, Bishop of Durham Justin Welby, and Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu - the second most senior bishop in the Church.

Analysis

The Crown Nominations Committee has a grand-sounding name, but it is mostly made up of ordinary members of the Church, clergy and lay people, appointed or elected to represent the diocese of Canterbury or the ruling Synod.

Their task is anything but ordinary, and the 16-strong committee has met several times this year to carry out an exhaustive assessment of a range of potential candidates for Anglicanism's top job, using interviews for the first time.

They will choose two names - probably by the end of Friday - and send them in order of preference to Downing Street.

The prime minister is very likely simply to endorse the preferred candidate and send his name to Buckingham Palace for the Queen, the Church's Supreme Governor, to approve.

With the Church - and the wider Anglican Communion - facing serious internal divisions over issues such as homosexuality, Anglicans will be waiting anxiously for the outcome.

But the protocol - and checking the chosen candidate actually wants the job - will take time, and an announcement from Downing Street is unlikely before next week.

Others already elected by the House of Bishops to sit on the CNC - effectively removing themselves from the running - include the Bishop of Carlisle, the Right Reverend James Newcome, and the Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Reverend Michael Perham.

The Bishop of Norwich, Graham James told the BBC he was praying that he was not chosen for the post.

"Anyone who really longs to be the Archbishop of Canterbury is probably not terribly well-equipped to do the job.

"Nonetheless I am fairly sure the whole process will lead, I hope and pray, to God choosing someone other than me," he said.

Meanwhile, people on Twitter are being urged to pray for the CNC as its meeting begins.

The hashtag #prayforthecnc will be used in messages sent out by the Church of England's communications office directing people to a special prayer which has been posted on its website.

Close to splitting

The meeting begins on a day an opinion poll for BBC Local Radio by ComRes - which questioned 2,500 people in England - suggests most people think Dr Williams has been a good leader.

However, a quarter said he had not kept the Church relevant in modern Britain.

The election process began in March, when Dr Williams announced that he would be standing down at the end of the year.

He is due to take the position of Master of Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge in January.

Under his leadership, the Church of England has come close to splitting over the ordination of gay clergy and women bishops, and has struggled to maintain its membership.

Earlier in September, Dr Williams said he had done too little to prevent the divide over homosexuality.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Dr Williams also revealed that the Church was drawing up plans to appoint a presidential figure to share some of the burden of running the worldwide Anglican communion.

Dr Williams has consistently supported the ordination of women, and previously showed no objection to the appointment of an openly gay bishop.

 

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  • Comment number 718.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 717.

    Even if (like me) you don't believe in organised religion, you can't deny the fact that Christianity has helped to inspire the creation of some of the greatest works of music, art and architecture in the western world. Whoever is elected should try to keep the CofE relevant to the modern world via supporting grassroots charity work in local communities and helping those who need it most.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 716.

    @Pete

    "Seeing as" democracy" gave us the likes of Blair , Brown, Cameron and Clegg, I wouldnt worry about it"

    Now there is the authentic voice of a religious fundamentalist who yearns to live in a Dark Age Theocracy - IOW "a system where people vote for their own elected representatives is sometimes flawed so let's go back centuries when only priests decided what you're allowed to think or do!"

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 715.

    Why is the Church of England still our 'official' religion? Why is our head of state also the head of this religion. Why are church of England bishops allowed to influence public policy through their presence in the unelected House of Lords. A full separation of church and state is urgently needed.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 714.

    696. BadlyPackedKebab
    2 MINUTES AGO
    @689.Mr Max

    Worringly there are still people who believe that the world is only a few thousand years old despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    Our understanding of time is infantile. Imagine "eternity" and living "time without end". Death would be a comfort that never comes. We are so arrogant ...future generations will think of us a stone age.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 713.

    Abu Hamza: High Court judge halts extradition to the US. This is getting just damn ridiculous !

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 712.

    //Trout Mask Replica
    Unfortunately most of these (American) nut jobs are...//

    And the US is still infinitely more free and tolerant than places where certain other religions predominate.

    Make an offensive film about the bible, or burn the US flag, there won't be mass rioting and deaths.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 711.

    @Luthor
    "Healing the sick"
    Do you do this using science or mumbo jumbo?????

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 710.

    682.Name Number 6
    ..Closed elections don't help with unaccountability.

    Who do you suggest then, should have the opportunity to vote for and elect the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 709.

    692.Luddite1811


    To be fair it's for all of us who are either non religious or non Muslim, as well as Muslim secularists (if you thinks an oxymoron look up what securlar actually means) to stand up against any introduction of Sharia Law into the UK, whether it was only concered with believers or everyone.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 708.

    Please tell me what good work he has done, that's worth 60k a year and a paid for mini castle where he resides. This man is totally ridiculous. Now go retire shakes hand with Robert Mugabe again. Spend the rest of day with you fat pension that you never worked for. While wearing daft hats with your buddy Tutu.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 707.

    I assume one of the major criteria for selection will be how few vicar's under their charge were embroiled in sexual misdemeanour's with minors.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 706.

    699.
    JPublic

    "
    Oh? So how are we a democracy when the Archbishop has so much influence over some certain laws, some Political decisions and other elements of our lives when we can't vote on who the next Archbishop should be?"

    Seeing as" democracy" gave us the likes of Blair , Brown, Cameron and Clegg, I wouldnt worry about it

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 705.

    "BadlyPackedKebab
    Thankfully nearly all of these nut jobs reside on the other side of the atlantic"

    Unfortunately most of these nut jobs are perfectly happy to take the weapons of mass destruction that derive from the very same science that provides the overwhelming evidence that the world is far older than 6000 years. They're also more likely to want to use them too.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 704.

    @686.you must be right
    670Luddite1811
    Religion poisons that.
    Some do, but not all.

    That's an interesting point YMBR. :¬)

    However, i'll contend that ALL religion is poisonous as by neccessaity it creates an unreality into which it abrogates ultimate responsibility, and replaces reason with dogma.
    From that, individuals and societies are made inherently immoral, and wilfully subjugated.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 703.

    One thing is for sure about the new archbishop - he will be as weak minded and ill-educated as all his predecessors were. Don't tollerate these buffoons and stop giving them a voice!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 702.

    I watched Archbishop of Canterbury address the Queen around the time of the Jubilee, he was in the biggest church you could imagine decked out with gold and marble, he was dressed in gold and rich reads ... Guess what the speach was about ! GREED ... now as a Athiest I found it very funny but have to ask ... WHO PAID FOR IT ?

    So yes we have a right to comment on this ...

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 701.

    692. "Hopefully, whoever takes over from Dr Williams, they won't echo his disgraceful lack of resistance to Sharia in the UK."

    Why would anyone "resist" Sharia now? There's nothing to resist! It's not like it's going to be introduced without the consent of the people; that would be in defiance of the word of the Qu'ran.

    Don't worry though, I'm sure we'll get the scaremonger you deserve.

  • Comment number 700.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 699.

    "Church officials are preparing to decide who will be the new Archbishop of Canterbury, ahead of Dr Rowan Williams stepping down in December."

    Oh? So how are we a democracy when the Archbishop has so much influence over some certain laws, some Political decisions and other elements of our lives when we can't vote on who the next Archbishop should be?

 

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