The Crown Nominations Committee starts a three day meeting today to finalize its selection of two names to present to the Primate Minister for appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury.
The location of the 26-28 September 2012 meeting has been kept secret as has its deliberations. Rumors as to the names under consideration have circulated freely over the past few months, with some candidates rising and falling in popularity among punters. The “favorites” at this stage of the process include the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, the Bishop of London, Dr. Richard Chartres, the Bishop of Durhan, Justin Welby, the Bishop of Coventry, Christopher Cocksworth, and the Bishop of Norwich, Graham James.
In contrast to past deliberations of the Crown Nominations Committee, the discussion over the selection of a successor to Dr. Rowan Williams have not been leaked to the press or have been the subject of informed “off the record” comment from insiders.
Two names will be presented to Prime Minister David Cameron – the recommended choice and an alternate. Unlike past archiepiscopal appointments, the Prime Minister is not expected to exercise a choice over the names and is likely to submit the recommended name to the Queen for approval.
In 2007, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the primate minister’s office would no longer take an active role in the selection of archbishops, effectively leaving the choice to the Crown Nominations Committee. Mr. Cameron has not repudiated this position, but is not bound by Gordon Brown’s actions either.
Chaired by the Lord Luce, the committee consists of six members elected by the Diocese of Canterbury Vacancy in See Committee: The Rev Canon Clare Edwards, Mr. Raymond Harris, Mr. David Kemp, the Rev. Canon Mark Roberts, Mrs. Caroline Spencer and Bishop Trevor Wilmott,
Six further members of the committee were elected by the General Synod: Mr. Aiden Hargreaves-Smith – Diocese of London, Prof. Glynn Harrison – Diocese of Bristol, Mrs Mary Johnston – Diocese of London, The Very Revd Andrew Nunn – Diocese of Southwark, The Rev Canon Peter Spiers – Diocese of Liverpool and the Rev Canon Glyn Webster – Diocese of York.
The Rt Rev James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle and the Rt Rev Michael Perham, the Bishop of Gloucester were elected by the House of Bishops of the General Synod, and Archbishop Barry Morgan of Wales was elected by the Anglican Consultative Council.
Three non-voting members also serve on the committee: the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments Ms Caroline Boddington, the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary Sir Paul Britton and the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council, Canon Kenneth Kearon.