The body responsible for choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to agree who should be the successor to Dr Rowan Williams.
Despite a three day session, aided by prayers invoked on Twitter with the hashtage #prayforthecnc, the 16-member committee has been unable to decide on who should take on the job that the present incumbent today implied was “impossible.”
A source told The Times that a decision on who should succeed Dr Rowan Williams was not expected soon. “A decision is not imminent,” he said.
MORE: AnglicanTV has a breaking news update:
|Lord Luce chairs the CNC|
The CNC is an elected, prayerful body. Its meetings are necessarily confidential to enable members to fulfil their important responsibilities for discerning who should undertake this major national and international role. Previous official briefings have indicated that an announcement is expected during the autumn and that remains the case; the work of the Commission continues. There will be no comment on any speculation about candidates or about the CNC’s deliberations. Dr Williams remains in office until the end of December.
Update from George Conger at Anglican Ink:
The Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) has been unable to agree upon a candidate for the post of Archbishop of Canterbury.
This week’s third and final meeting of the CNC was to have provided two names to Prime Minister David Cameron – a first choice and an alternate. However, on 28 Sept 2012 the Church of England press office released a statement at the close of the three day meeting of the Commission that indicated it had not been able to agree upon a candidate.
The statement read:
“This week's meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) has been accompanied by much speculation about possible candidates and the likely timing of an announcement of the name of who will succeed Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury when he steps down to become Master of Magdalene College.”
“The CNC is an elected, prayerful body. Its meetings are necessarily confidential to enable members to fulfil their important responsibilities for discerning who should undertake this major national and international role. Previous official briefings have indicated that an announcement is expected during the autumn and that remains the case; the work of the Commission continues. There will be no comment on any speculation about candidates or about the CNC's deliberations. Dr Williams remains in office until the end of December.”
While the announcement on its face appears to be vague, the delay in announcing the name of the new archbishop from the coming week to sometime “during the autumn” and the news the “work of the Commission continues” even though it had concluded its final meeting to select the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury indicates the process has stalled.
Anglican Ink’s Peter Ould told host Kevin Kallsen that he interpreted the statement to mean the committee had deadlocked. He speculated the likely cause of the deadlock could have been the potential selection of the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, or Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby.
Dr. Sentamu has angered liberals within the Church of England over his robust rejection of same-sex marriage and a small but vocal minority of opponents has consistently objected to his candidacy. The Bishop of Durham has been in office for less than a year, and Mr. Ould speculated his selection for the church’s top post would be a cause of concern due to his inexperience. Sources have also informed Anglican Ink that a third contender, the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres – whose chances for selection have risen sharply in the past few weeks, has been passed over for the post.
The way forward is unclear. At the present time no further meetings have been set for the commission, but no other body is able to submit names to the Prime Minister.
Until a major revision in 2007, the commission sent their nominee to the Prime Minister who could forward that selection to the Queen or chose someone else. England's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher did just that in 1990 and rejected the commission's selection, choosing George Carey instead. With the 2007 revision, the Prime Minister appears to be now a mere formality (and a further sign of disestablishment) and he now just passes on the commission's selection unless it can be determined there is a serious impediment with the commission's nominee. But even if that happens, the "spare" selection will simply be appointed instead.
Queen Elizabeth II has been quite outspoken (for her) regarding her concern for the church, giving a moving speech at a recent Synod of the Church of England as well as speaking to her faith in recent official Christmas messages. No one can count whether this will be her last appointment (she is her mother's daughter), and if someone like Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, is the choice it probably won't be.
We'll see whether the commission is serious about church growth or playing to the band. Watch this space.
In the meantime, here's a little tune now playing on the Cafe Jukebox:
Time now has an article out as we wait for the announcement, from here:
It’s a decision that will shape the future of the worldwide Anglican community. On Sept. 28, senior figures in the Church of England were expected to conclude a two-day meeting at a secret location to choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury. The person selected by the 16-member Crown Nominations Commission will become the spiritual leader of not only the Church of England but also the 77 million-strong Anglican Communion, the global network of Anglican churches. The commission, made up of clergy and laypeople, will settle on a candidate before passing its nomination on to British Prime Minister David Cameron. Final appointment will then fall to Queen Elizabeth, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. A date for the announcement has not yet been set.
The previous Archbishop, Dr. Rowan Williams, who held the position for nearly a decade, announced in March he would be resigning to take up a position as head of Magdalene College, Cambridge. His successor will inherit the ongoing disagreements over gay rights and female bishops that roiled the church during Williams’ tenure.
Top contenders to take his place include John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, and Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham. Here’s a look at the three men:
Born in Kampala, Uganda, Sentamu escaped Idi Amin’s dictatorship by emigrating to the U.K. in 1974 to study theology at Cambridge. As the Archbishop of York he is the Church’s number two. He is known for his theatrical style and writes a column for the Sun tabloid newspaper. He once used scissors to cut his dog collar into pieces on live television, promising not to wear it again until the autocratic President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, relinquished power. He has berated bankers for their “massive bonuses” and supports the idea of female bishops. Once a darling of the left, Sentamu fell from grace with the liberal wing of the Church by opposing gay marriage — although he does support civil partnerships.
Chartres, the Church’s third most senior clergyman, is perhaps the most conservative of the three top nominees. He has dismissed calls to hold civil-partnership ceremonies in London churches, believes gay clergy must live in “the single state” and is skeptical of proposals to appoint female bishops. Despite his traditionalist bent, Chartres, who began his church career after studying history at Cambridge, has advocated cutting the church’s carbon emissions in the name of environmental responsibility.
Justin Welby has been a bishop for less than a year. Yet the British-born Welby was the bookmakers’ favorite to be the next Archbishop in the run-up to the meeting. Critics fault him for his lack of experience in the Church, but Welby, who came to the Anglican ministry after 11 years in the oil business, has been praised for his real-world experience. Like Sentamu, he opposes gay marriage and is in favor of female bishops. He has also shown an occasional penchant for fun; in June, he revealed, for example, that his father Gavin, who emigrated to New York from London in 1929, traded bootleg whiskey during Prohibition before becoming a major liquor distributor.
As the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) chews over its options, the church has launched a Twitter hashtag (#prayforthecnc), which it has used to direct Anglicans to a specially written prayer. “Bless with the Spirit’s grace and presence the members of the Crown Nominations Committee,” it reads. Meanwhile, Twitter users have been invited to add their thoughts. Some have joined in calling for prayer, while others have offered advice. The Rev. Laurie Brock of Lexington, Ky., tweeted that “a Survivor-type contest would be a dandy way to select the new Archbishop of Canterbury.”
Read it all here.