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Why should the UK get all the fun?

Why should the UK get all the fun?

The Archbishop of The Church of Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh, has called for the selection of the Archbishop of Canterbury to be more international and for the post to be term-limited.

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) demanded a change in the age-long tradition that allows the British government to appoint the Archbishop of Canterbury, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

The Primate of the Church, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, on Wednesday in Abuja made the call at a media briefing to herald the 2012 Divine Commonwealth Conference scheduled to begin in the city next week.

NAN reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, is due to retire by the end of the year and according to the the tradition, the British Prime Minister is expected to name his successor.

The appointment of the new Church leader is based on the recommendations of the UK-based Crown Nominations Commission, a 16-member body made up of bishops, priests and laity.

He thinks that since the ABC represents the whole church, and since most of the Anglican Communion exists in the former British Empire, that there should be more international input.

“But what we have asked for is that for the fact that most of the churches that make up the Communion were part and parcel of the British Empire before, the original British Empire has changed method, which is now the Commonwealth, the same thing, the leadership in the Church should equally change.’’

He would also like to see the post have term limits of five years.

Of course, he is not interested in international selection for its own sake. He is interested in promoting the idea that Anglican Communion is really One Big Church instead of a communion of 38 autonomous churches with a shared heritage. And, if he had his way, the ABC Okah would accept would by definition leave out anyone in favor of full-inclusion GLBT persons.

…the kind of person we will want to see; somebody who will bring unity to the Church, particularly in the areas of doctrine.

“We will like somebody who will be biblically based not somebody with wide theologies.”

Why let the Church of England choose their Archbishop? Because we gave up Popes, that’s why. The hard work is living out being in communion.


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Adam Spencer

I certainly appreciate that there are political reasons behind the Archbishop’s statement and totally “get” what he’s doing here.

That said – shouldn’t we in TEC be interested in having a “titular head” or “spiritual figurehead” that is more representative of the Body for which it stands? And not someone picked by the British government? (Hoary old IMPERIALISM at its finest) What about a term-limited rotating office, perhaps? I mean, how seriously do we take the Communion as a living body made up of many parts vs. being an old museum piece from the glory days of the British Empire? I’m not saying let’s all advocate for the Archbishop’s idea, I’m just saying that embedded in the shady politics of it is, maybe, something worth talking about. (Or maybe not. This is why I’m not in charge!)

Bill Moorhead

Chris, actually the ABC is “Primate of All England.” The Archbishop of York is “Primate of England.” Sounds to me like a distinction without a difference, but I’ll defer to our English siblings on that matter. Parallel-wise, the Archbishop of Armagh is “Primate of All Ireland” and the Archbishop of Dublin is “Primate of Ireland.” Whatever works for you. Personally, I am coming around to the opinion that the title “Primate” is outdated, confusing to the rest of the world, and should be abandoned. Although if England and Ireland want to keep it, that’s okay; they’re good at keeping old stuff. The title “Primus” in the Scottish Episcopal Church is quaintly charming, but also accurate: it suggests “primus inter pares” which is what the Primus, who is a diocesan bishop, actually is.

Chris Arnold

The Archbishop of Canterbury is only the Primate of the Province of Canterbury, which is not all of England. But then he is the titular head of the Communion. So long as the C of E is an established church in a country, so long as there are no strong structures of authority in the Communion, and so long as the gaps between our provinces continue to widen, we’ll disagree on how the Archbishop should be picked.

Jesse Snider

Bill Moorhead be snarky!! It’s certainly a more Christian attitude than I have toward the Church of Nigeria’s archbishop. How about this Dr. Okoh why don’t we let the entire communion vote on the Presiding Bishop for the US too?? And while we’re at it we’ll vote for your job. The appointment of the ABC is a process steeped in tradition that goes back for centuries. The monarchs have always diddled in the selection. Didn’t Henry II have a say in making Becket ABC? I say, he’s the primate of England let England choose him, he’s not a bloody pope that needs a conclave. We’re moving too close to Romanism,,now that’s ‘snarky’ LOL Cheers!

Bill Moorhead

“And, if he had his way, the ABC Okoh would accept” would be the current Archbishop of Nigeria.

Okay, so I’m being snarky. Does that make me wrong?

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