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March 17, 2012


Outline of Procedures for the Appointment of an Archbishop of Canterbury

Press Release: 

Outline of procedures for the appointment of an Archbishop of Canterbury

Friday 16th March 2012
The responsibility for choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury rests with the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC). Its task is to submit the name of a preferred candidate (and a second appointable candidate) to the Prime Minster who is constitutionally responsible for tendering advice on the appointment to the Queen.

The responsibility for choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury rests with the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC). Its task is to submit the name of a preferred candidate (and a second appointable candidate) to the Prime Minster who is constitutionally responsible for tendering advice on the appointment to the Queen.

The membership of the CNC is prescribed in the Standing Orders of the General Synod. When an Archbishop of Canterbury is to be chosen there are 16 voting members

  * The Chair (a layperson) – to be appointed by the Prime Minister
  * A Bishop - to be elected by the House of Bishops
  * The Archbishop of York or, if he chooses not to be a member of the CNC, a further Bishop to be elected by the House of Bishops
  * Six representatives elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee
  * The six representatives (three clergy and three lay) elected by General Synod to serve as members of the Commission for a five year period
  * A member of the Primates Meeting of the Anglican Communion elected by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.

In addition, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary and the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments are non-voting members of the Commission.

Before the Commission first meets there will be an extensive consultation process to determine the needs of the diocese, the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. This has several phases;

  * The diocesan Vacancy in See Committee will prepare a brief description of the diocese and a statement setting out the desired profile of the new Archbishop
  * The Prime Minister’s and Archbishops’ Secretaries for Appointments will conduct a wider consultation exercise to inform the Commission’s consideration of the needs of the mission of the wider Church of England and the Anglican Communion.

The expectation is that the Commission will have an initial meeting around the end of May to agree its process, which is likely to continue over the summer. The number of meetings will be for the Commission to determine. The process will among other things include;

  * Review of background material and results of the consultations, discussion of the challenges for the next Archbishop and, in the light of these, consideration of the personal qualities required
  * Consideration of candidates
  * Voting to identify the recommended candidate and a second appointable candidate, whose names will go forward to the Prime Minister.

Since 2007 the agreed convention in relation to episcopal appointments has been that the Prime Minister commends the name preferred by the Commission to the Queen. The second name is identified in case, for whatever reason, there is a change of circumstances which means that the appointment of the CNC’s recommended candidate cannot proceed.

Once the Queen has approved the chosen candidate and he has indicated a willingness to serve, 10 Downing St will announce the name of the Archbishop-designate.

The College of Canons of Canterbury Cathedral formally elect the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

The election is confirmed by a commission of diocesan bishops in a legal ceremony (the Confirmation of Election), which confers the office of Archbishop on him.

The new Archbishop does homage to Her Majesty.

The new Archbishop is formally enthroned in Canterbury Cathedral. 

Further details on the nomination process for Diocesan Bishops can be found at at the Church of England website.

This includes the particular arrangements made for the See of Canterbury.

There are six principal aspects to the job of the Archbishop of Canterbury:

1. The Archbishop is the Bishop of the Canterbury Diocese. He has delegated much of his responsibility for the diocese to the Bishop of Dover, who leads a senior staff team of the Dean, three Archdeacons and the Diocesan Secretary. The Archbishop continues to take a keen interest in the affairs of the diocese, attend staff and other meetings, the annual residential staff meeting, and the Archbishop’s Council of the diocese when possible.

2. The Archbishop of Canterbury is also a Metropolitan, having metropolitical jurisdiction throughout the 30 dioceses of the Province of Canterbury. As such, he can conduct formal visitations of those dioceses when necessary. Establishing close links with bishops in his Province is an important part of his work and he visits three dioceses each year. It is a Metropolitan’s responsibility to act as chief consecrator at the consecration of new bishops, grant various permissions, licences and faculties, appoint to parishes where the patron has failed to do so within the prescribed time limits, act as Visitor of various institutions and release, where appropriate, those who have taken religious vows.  He and the Archbishop of York are joint Presidents of the General Synod. The Archbishop of Canterbury is Chairman and the Archbishop of York Vice-Chairman of the House of Bishops and the Crown Nominations Commission.Two Provincial Episcopal Visitors report to the Archbishop in relation to the 163 parishes in the southern province which have petitioned for extended episcopal care under the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod.

3. As leader of the ‘Church by Law Established’ the Archbishop, in his capacity as Primate of All England, is ‘chaplain to the nation’, classically exemplified at a coronation. More routinely he has regular audiences with the Queen and the Prime Minister, and is frequently in touch with senior Ministers of State and with the Leaders of Opposition Parties. In addition, both Archbishops and 24 other senior bishops have seats in the House of Lords.

4. The Archbishop is the Focus of Unity for the Anglican Communion. He is convener and host of the Lambeth Conference, President of the Anglican Consultative Council, and Chair of the Primates’ meeting. In these roles he travels extensively throughout the Anglican Communion, visiting provinces and dioceses, and supporting and encouraging the witness of the Church in very diverse contexts. As primus inter pares among the bishops, he has a special concern for those in episcopal ministry.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is, along with the Bishop of Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarch, widely regarded as an international spiritual leader, representing the Christian Church. On overseas visits, a meeting with the Head of State is almost always a part of the programme, as are meetings with other significant political persons.

5. The Archbishop has a national and international ecumenical role; nationally he is one of the Presidents of Churches Together in England, who provide strategic guidance to ecumenical endeavours.

6. The Archbishop takes the lead in relationships with members of other faith communities both in this country and overseas, reflecting the increasing significance of those communities for the context in which the Church’s mission and ministry take place.


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19 comments

Could NT Wright be persuaded to return from academia?

[1] Posted by RedHatRob on 3-17-2012 at 06:58 PM · [top]

I hope not.

[2] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 3-17-2012 at 07:25 PM · [top]

indeed, that’s the last thing we need. Please no.

[3] Posted by David Ould on 3-17-2012 at 08:33 PM · [top]

Whether you like his theology or not, NTW is one of the few big beasts who has the skillset, force of personality, experience and integrity and prestige to turn around the complete administrative shambles the Communion is in with the current vortex at its heart.  It would be a short term appointment as he is older than Rowan.  However, I expect he has better things to do than worry about the mess now he is away from it.

But I would expect on general principles that it is more likely that in the usual way that it will be none of the current names, but a generation will be missed for someone much younger, probably in their early to mid fifties who will have a ten plus year term in him.

However, things are in such a mess that it may well be that an older caretaker and troubleshooter will be able to do what a younger but less experienced man would not, whatever the longer term picture.

[4] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 3-17-2012 at 10:25 PM · [top]

With a process like this, what could possibly go wrong? Our prayers are essential.

[5] Posted by AnnieCOA on 3-17-2012 at 10:52 PM · [top]

“4. The Archbishop is the Focus of Unity for the Anglican Communion.” Be still my gag reflex.

I remember, many years ago, advancing the viewpoint, not original to me, that His Grace’s charge was to prevent, to the extent possible, the breakup of the Anglican Communion. So a case can be made for his good and faithful service. Not sure that will count for much when he stands before The Lord.

[6] Posted by off2 on 3-17-2012 at 11:20 PM · [top]

The selection committee includes:

A member of the Primates Meeting of the Anglican Communion elected by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.

Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion?  Isn’t that the new committee invented out of whole cloth when the Instruments of Communion were being upended a few years ago?  If memory serves, it used to be the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates.  Now it is elected by the ACC, and the Primates only elect representatives to it.

At any rate, the current Standing Committee members are:

Abp Rowan Williams (President)
Bp James Tengatenga (Chair)
Canon Elizabeth Paver (Vice-Chair)
Bp David Chillingworth
Abp Paul Kwong
Bp Samuel Azariah
Abp Daniel Deng Bul Yak
Bp Katharine Jefferts Schori
Mrs Philippa Amable
Bp Ian Douglas
Dr Anthony Fitchett
Dato Stanley Isaacs
Canon Janet Trisk
The Revd Maria Cristina Borges Alvarez

[7] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 3-17-2012 at 11:59 PM · [top]

I wonder, should I pray for clarity with this choice?

[8] Posted by Going Home on 3-18-2012 at 01:12 AM · [top]

Three points from a GAFCON perspective:

1.  Is there any chance a Primate from FCA will be chosen by the Standing Committee? No way. I predict Abp. Ntahoturi, who is now chairman of the newly recaptured (by the Lambeth Establishment) CAPA.

2.  I fear that the appointment of John Sentamu would pose a real dilemma for African Anglicans - national pride versus substance – much as the election of an African-American president posed a dilemma for many Americans.

3.  Is anyone tracking the selection process for the Abp. of Uganda? Might be more significant at the end of the day.

[9] Posted by Stephen Noll on 3-18-2012 at 04:49 AM · [top]

I am concerned that the process is designed more for selecting the head of the Church of England than the head of the Anglican Communion. The Roman Catholic Church seems to have realized that for a world wide church, there needs to be more representation from other nations for the Bishop of Rome. I don’t need to be reminded of the “chances” of Bishop Michael Nazir Ali being elected since in matters of faith, we should be praying for the desired end result. He is my choice. If a candidate is found that is most acceptable for England, then how does this play out in the wider Anglican Communion? The Southern Cone primates have been patiently waiting out the end of Rowan’s tenure. England’s choice may determine if Canterbury remains the center of Anglicanism or only the historical center of Anglicanism.

[10] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-18-2012 at 07:46 AM · [top]

Fr Dale’s point about process leads me (Roman Catholic) to remark that the current College of Cardinals includes several who are not even ROMAN Catholic (it is amusing how tenacious Anglicans are insisting that ‘Catholic’ always be prefaced with ‘Roman’):

  Lucian Mureșan* (Romania) - born 23 May 1931 - Major Archbishop of Făgăraş and Alba Iulia (Romanian Greek-Catholic Church)
  George Alencherry (India) - born 19 April 1945 - Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly (Syro-Malabar Catholic Church)
  Lubomyr Husar (Ukraine) - born 26 February 1933 - Major Archbishop Emeritus of Kyiv-Halych (Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church)
  Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir* (Lebanon) - born 15 May 1920 - Patriarch Emeritus of Antioch (lives in Beirut) (Maronite Catholic Church), Cardinal 28 February 1994
  Ignatius I Moussa Daoud* (Syria) - born 18 September 1930 - Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and Patriarch Emeritus of Antioch (Syrian Catholic Church), Cardinal 21 February 2001
  Emmanuel III Delly* (Iraq) - born 6 October 1927 - Patriarch of Babylon (Chaldean Catholic Church), Cardinal 24 November 2007
  Antonios Naguib (Egypt) - born 7 March 1935 - Patriarch of Alexandria (Coptic Catholic Church), Cardinal 20 November 2010

[11] Posted by tdunbar on 3-18-2012 at 08:09 AM · [top]

tdunbar,
I hope you don’t see my comment as an insult but keep in mind when I use a capital “C” I automatically use Roman. The Roman Catholics are also, like Anglicans part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church. Some might argue about this but certainly not me.

[12] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-18-2012 at 09:12 AM · [top]

There is more on the process including some information in Q&A’s here.

Also a discussion on the Sunday Program from the BBC today here with the following segments:
0-6 mins in - report from Robert Piggott, religion correspondent
28 mins in to end - discusion with +John Packer, Chris Sugden and Christina Rees.

[13] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 3-18-2012 at 11:36 AM · [top]

Sorry, first link above in comment #13 here

[14] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 3-18-2012 at 11:42 AM · [top]

Fr Dale, no offense taken.  I was mainly wanting to point out the breadth of the ‘selection committee’ for the Pope, in contrast to the Anglican standing committee which, as you say, could be more representative of global Anglicanism, ie more catholic, in your usage.

[15] Posted by tdunbar on 3-18-2012 at 03:35 PM · [top]

tdunbar,
Yes, you are correct. Here is the part that baffles me. Of the four threads on this topic (more recently five), there are less than 100 comments about the resignation of Rowan Williams. Is this the final indication of “No confidence” or are people just weary of him? I would hope that through faith more folks would discuss the possibilities that lay ahead. There seems to be a fatalism about the process.

[16] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-18-2012 at 03:53 PM · [top]

Perhaps I missed it in the rules but can the archbishop of York be a candidate if he is also a member of the CNC?  That would seem a conflict, and if so, I guess if he opts out, would that be an indication of his willingness to serve?

[17] Posted by Matthew on 3-18-2012 at 04:45 PM · [top]

#17 Matthew, as I read it, the ABY may decline membership of the CNC.  In that case the House of Bishops would elect another bishop to membership of the CNC instead.  The ABY would decline to sit on the CNC if he were to be a candidate given the conflict involved.

[18] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 3-18-2012 at 05:10 PM · [top]

Historically speaking, Ebor becomes Cantuar unless there is a really solid objection such as age or unwillingness to serve. Sometimes Dunelm is being groomed instead. Some of us think that Tom Wright is therefore still in the running. Cantuar has to have academic weight. Ian Ramsey was being groomed in this way, and left the Nolloth Chair and became a bishop for the purpose. He would certainly have gone to Canterbury, except that he died so suddenly instead.

It would be a mistake to suppose that any reasonable candidate had no warning of Rowan’s departure. They will all have known months if not years in advance.

To have a black Ugandan in the job (long ago described as “the impossible job that has to be done”) would be far more adventurous than just going North or North-East of the Alps.

[19] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 3-20-2012 at 04:46 PM · [top]

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