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Consultation opens on the appointment of the next Archbishop of Canterbury

Announcements in the Church Times, Church of England Newspaper and The Times have started the consultation process ahead of consideration by the Crown Nominations Commission as to who will follow Dr Rowan Williams as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

This is the first time the process for nominating a new Archbishop of Canterbury has begun with such an announcement, following changes to introduce more transparency in the appointment of bishops.

The Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams will be stepping down from the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury on 31st December 2012.

Any person wishing to comment on the challenges and opportunities that should be taken in to account in considering the appointment of his successor or who wishes to propose candidates should email, by Monday 30th April, to abc.vacancy@churchofengland.org .

Comments and proposals can also be sent in writing to one of the following:

Sir Paul Britton,

Prime Minister's Secretary for Appointments

c/o Honours and Appointments Secretariat

Admiralty Arch

The Mall

London

SW1A 2WH

 

Ms. Caroline Boddington

Archbishops' Secretary for Appointments

The Wash House

Lambeth Palace

London

SE1 7JU

 

Notes

Outline of procedures for the appointment of an Archbishop of Canterbury

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

http://www.churchofengland.org/clergy-office-holders/asa/senappt/dbnom.aspx

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