10 November 2004
The Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Rev Martin Wharton, has been elected by the House of Bishops to serve on the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) to consider the vacancy in the See of York. In the event of the Bishop of Newcastle being unable to serve, an alternate, the Bishop of Southwell, the Rt Rev George Cassidy, has been elected.
The Diocese of York Vacancy-in-See Committee, on October 30, elected its six members to sit on the CNC as it considers the appointment of the next Archbishop of York. They are the Right Reverend Richard Frith (Bishop of Hull), the Venerable Paul Ferguson (Archdeacon of Cleveland), Mr Richard Liversedge, Mrs Jennifer Reid, Mr Ian Smith and Canon Glyn Webster.
The CNC in this instance is chaired by Mr Nigel Sherlock, who has served the Diocese of Newcastle over 25 years in a number of roles, including the Bishop’s Council and the Diocesan Board of Finance. He is Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear and a member of the Church of England Pensions Board..
Seven permanent members complete the Commission. They are the Archbishop of Canterbury plus three elected members of the House of Clergy - Rev Paul Collier, Canon Penny Driver and Canon Prof Anthony Thiselton – and three elected members of the House of Laity – Mrs Janet Atkinson, Mr Ian Garden and Dr Elaine Storkey.
Process for the Appointment of an Archbishop of York
The Archbishop of York is appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, as with the appointment of any diocesan bishop. The same procedures of consultation within the Church of England are followed in making this appointment as when any diocesan see falls vacant with wider consultations to take account of the Archbishop’s national role.
The Vacancy-in-See Committee of the Diocese of York meets to identify the needs of the diocese and to elect six of their number to serve on the Crown Nominations Commission. The Vacancy-in-See committee is a standing committee elected by the members of the York diocesan synod.
The Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary and the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments conduct consultations within the diocese, the northern province and also across the wider church. In addition to meeting with representatives of church life, they will also meet with representatives of civic, social and other denominations and faith communities. A public meeting is held.
Information from the diocesan statement of needs and the secretaries’ consultations is used to form a picture of the demands of the archiepiscopate and the type of person best suited to match its needs. This information is used by the Crown Nominations Commission as it considers whom it wishes to put forward to the Prime Minister.
The Commission meets together for a period of work, prayer and discussion that allows for time and space to consider who best meets the needs of the role.
At the end of the meeting, members vote in a secret ballot to identify two individuals to put forward to the Prime Minister. When the two names have been identified, a further vote is taken, again by secret ballot, in order to allow the Commission to express a preference between them, should it wish to do so.
The Prime Minister may select the first of the two names put to him (assuming that the Commission has expressed a preference between the two names put forward); or he may select the second; or he may ask the Commission to re-consider and submit further names (in which case the Commission would need to meet again). Once the Prime Minister has reached his decision he commends the candidate to the Queen.
It will be a number of months before this work is completed and the next Archbishop of York can be named.