The Crown Nominations Commission, the group choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury, is meeting today and tomorrow to select the next head of the Church of England and of the Anglican Communion.
The Church of England has offered this prayer for our use:
you have given your Holy Spirit to the Church
to lead us into all truth:
bless with the Spirit’s grace and presence
the members of the Crown Nominations Commission.
Keep them steadfast in faith and united in love,
that they may seek your will, manifest your glory
and prepare the way of your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.
The press release is here.
The meeting brings increasingly speculation on who will be chosen. Adrian Hilton offers his perspective here (he advocates Justin Welby of Durham). John Martin in The Living Church guesses Richard Chartres, Bishop of London. Andrew Brown wrote last week in The Guardian about the alternatives.
From this side of the pond, the whole thing looks rather odd and quaint. In the first place, because of establishment, some members including the chair, are appointed by the Prime Minister. Second, in spite of representation from both bishops and lay people, it’s all quite undemocratic, in a way even less democratic than the Roman Catholic process for electing a pope. Although the ABC is the head of the Anglican Communion, only one member of the commission comes from a church other than the Church of England (Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales). Then there’s the fact that one can place bets (currently Richard Dawkins is running 200/1).
But the selection is significant for the Church of England, the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the Episcopal Church. Whoever is chosen will continue to have to deal with issues confronting the CoE–women bishops, same sex marriage, and will have to also deal with the widening rift in the Anglican Communion.
The decision will be announced next week.