Church Times: Archbishop of Canterbury's job is too demanding

The Church Times suggests that the Crown Nominating Commission has had a difficult time settling on a choice for the next Archbishop of Canterbury is that the job is almost impossible to do. The editors' write:

There have been two recent reviews of the post: To Lead and to Serve: A review of the see of Canterbury, also 2001 (the Hurd report), and Resourcing Archbishops, 2002 (the second Mellows report). The latter begins: "The demands upon and the expectations of the Archbishops are at the very limit of what is realistic. The jobs are approaching the point at which they will become impossible." Despite these reviews, too little has changed. The abilities of Dr Williams have disguised, to a degree, some of these impossibilities. The cost is incalculable, being paid in decisions made too hastily, consultations unsought, mission opportunities declined, and, of course, personal wear and tear. It is not enough to invoke the aid of the Holy Spirit in the choice of Dr Williams's successor, nor even to sustain whoever is chosen. The Spirit of grace and freedom has something to say, too, about the demands made upon individuals. Several recommendations from those earlier reports remain on the table. This might be time to look at them afresh, so that he who is eventually appointed may approach the office with not so heavy a heart.

Comments (3)

Two points.

1. It's hard, but what's the alternative? We don't want a president of the Anglican Communion. Or, maybe, what's hard about it is that you're trying to hold back the tide of progress.

2. I don't see the logic between "it's hard" and "that's why the CNC is having a hard time deciding." There's division in the CoE and the reforms that have allowed for better representation on the CNC makes it more difficult to get consensus on the CNC _and_ those same factors (divisions and reforms allowing wider representation) make the ABC's job "harder."

What John said.

If the Church of England wants to change the responsibilities of the office of Archbishop of Canterbury, then now is not the time to bring up the matter. The members of the CNC should come together and make a choice. Rumors fly that the commission has reached consensus on No.1. Just get on with it and choose No.2, even if "it's hard."

June Butler

Maybe if the ABC would adopt a more humble role internationally, he (!!!) would have more time for duties at home.

Look at this process! How many Americans are on the Crown Nominating Commission? Africans? Australians? Canadians? Is it 50-50 male and female? No!

I accept a ceremonial role for the ABC. I appreciate an ABC that can facilitate discussion. Under no circumstances can I abide an ABC trying to exercise the slightest bit of authority over me, or TEC USA. No taxation without representation, and no real authority without representation. None. Zero. Zip.

When it comes to "unity," we are much more likely to hang together without an authority figure coercing anyone. If no one has that power, than we don't get into uncomfortable positions like being demanded to abandon conscience to throw in our lot with human rights abusers for the sake of "unity!" If Rowan had told certain African bishops that he didn't have the authority to coerce TEC USA (and Canada) into towing a hateful, homophobic line, what could they do?

I really hope that the 18 people working on this choice on behalf of the CoE "get" that this narrow process is really not an acceptable process for real international leadership. Maybe that would make their job easier.

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