London Times: CNC agreed on Welby as first choice

UPDATED: see below

With a caveat about the lack of named sources:

Bishop of Durham leads as rivals for Canterbury trail ($)

Ruth Gledhill Religion Correspondent

Last updated at 12:01AM, October 1 2012

David Cameron may have to break the deadlock over the choice of the next Archbishop of Canterbury, according to a former member of the committee charged with nominating Rowan Williams’s successor.

The call came as sources said that the Crown Nominations Commission had agreed on the first name but was divided over the “runner-up” to submit to Downing Street. Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham and a former oil industry executive, has secured the necessary two-thirds majority to be recommended as first choice. But members seem divided over whether the Bishop of Norwich, Graham James, or the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, should be the second choice.


Going by tradition, the first choice would be appointed the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Update - Lifted from the comments, with thanks:

As I understand it, the process is to choose two persons, each of whom must receive a 2/3 vote. Only then is a separate vote taken to determine who is the first choice. It is then determined if the first choice is willing and able and that is the person chosen. The second name is only a backup in case of a problem at this stage.

So the idea that the "first choice" has been made -- unless there is some informal agreement among the group -- doesn't match how things are supposed to go. Of course, the whole thing is "supposed" to be confidential, so it's off to a bad start -- unless this is the sort of "confidential" that really means "leaks to test the waters are expected; but noting definitive, please."

- Tobias Haller

UPDATE: The Rt. Rev. Justin Welby wrote in the Diocese of Virginia's July 9th issue of Center Aisle:
The Answer to Division in the Anglican Communion is Mission

And yet … and yet we find that in parts of the communion, or all over the communion in aspects of our lives, there is a sense of focus, even of reconciliation, and it comes not from endless debate and discussion of what achieves this, but principally from mission and its collateral benefits.

By mission I mean two things. First, it is the conscious engagement of churches at local, diocesan, provincial, national and global levels with the challenges and issues that diminish flourishing in the human race. Whether global or local, mission means building bridges from the world of the Kingdom of God into the world of human life and sin and celebration and weakness and strength.

Secondly, mission means taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ across that bridge, so that not only are we seen to be nice people doing nice things (there is a certain amount of British irony about that) but, with the good wishes, good intentions and helpful hands, there is the love of Christ that constrains us, that drives us forward, and that, when allowed to reign and rule in our individual lives and in the lives of societies and communities, transforms structures and practices and permits human flourishing.


Read more at Center Aisle.

The Guardian interview with Welby from July.

Comments (8)

As I understand it, the process is to choose two persons, each of whom must receive a 2/3 vote. Only then is a separate vote taken to determine who is the first choice. It is then determined if the first choice is willing and able and that is the person chosen. The second name is only a backup in case of a problem at this stage.

So the idea that the "first choice" has been made -- unless there is some informal agreement among the group -- doesn't match how things are supposed to go. Of course, the whole thing is "supposed" to be confidential, so it's off to a bad start -- unless this is the sort of "confidential" that really means "leaks to test the waters are expected; but noting definitive, please."

I know people who really like Justin Welby, and he'd likely be far less divisive than Sentamu.

Most of all, it's shocking that the process involves only 16 people and they are people that no one outside of the UK has ever heard of. Also, the choice has to be approved by the PM and Queen, who have no sovereignty outside of the UK.

How the CoE wants to choose their leaders is fine. But without representation from the international Anglican Communion, it is ludicrous to accept that the ABC has any authority beyond the UK. Seriously. An historic and ceremonial role I can deal with. But I cannot accept him (!!!) as having any authority to press any agenda upon us. I happen to think that if we approach one another as equals as brothers and sisters in Christ, we'll have fewer problems. With Rowan, a few of the ultra conservative bishops tried to leverage his authority to press on the rest of us. If no one has that authority - and certainly someone selected by 18 Brits can't carry much authority beyond their island - then no one has the power to be so damaging.

And I wonder what would be involved in having Cameron "break the deadlock". My understanding is that the policy changed recently, so the PM always passes along the first choice to the Queen (ie, he doesn't choose which to send). Was that a change in law? Church law, or state law? (Whatever that means in a country with an established church).

Ruth Gledhill said it, and she knows a lot more about the situation than I do, but can Cameron really just take his sword in there and cut the Gordian knot?

I don't think I'm as tied in to the need for a more democratic method of choosing the ABC as Cynthia. I accept what used to be the agreed upon function of +Cantaur - establishing which Provinces are members of the Anglican Communion via sacramental communion with the See of Canterbury. He may or may not exercise a moral authority, but that would come neither from his office nor from any possible selection scheme, but from his moral strength and spiritual power (I hate the way that sounds, btw - too much woo-woo entirely, but there it is). After all, my recognition of the authority of Archbishop Tutu has nothing to do with his former see or the way that the South African portion of the Anglican Communion chose him. I don't discount the possibility that the next ABC might turn out to be a similarly saintly figure whose word carries weight. It's certainly different, though, from the sort of governmental power after which the Instruments of Communion or Unity or whatever the term is seem to hanker.

Whoever is selected will have to serve two roles, which as we all know are many times in conflict. One to lead the CofE and the other to have a leadership role in the AC. Maybe it is time to have someone in a role like our own PB, who gives up leading a specific diocese in order to serve the larger church without conflicts of interest. That way the ABC can focus on the CofE and a "presiding archbishop" (okay, fill in whatever title seems appropriate) can focus on relations between the provinces.

I'm happy for the C of E to choose the ABC and for him (let's hope some time in the future her) to have the dual role.

I have two reasons, and both have to do with the Anglican Communion, not a church.

1. If the whole of the communion were to select/elect the ABC could it not be argued we were a church and not a communion?

2. If there is someone who is the head of the Anglican Communion, as the PB is of TEC could it not be argued that this make the communion a church?

We don't want to go down the "let's be church" route. That's what the Anglican Covenant was meant to do. And don't get me started on appeasing the Catholic Church by making our practices and believes more coherent.

Good points John. I was more thinking along the lines that whoever is in the role is serving both his province and serving a role for all provinces, and what happens when that comes in to conflict.

Cynthia, The Queen is head of state of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, and Saint Kitts and Nevis, where she is represented by Governors-General. She is the Queen of all these realms. For example, she has the title Queen of Canada. She is also the Lord of Man on the Isle of Man and the Duke of Normandy on Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

Gary Paul Gilbert


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