Thursday, June 28, 2012

Anglicans searching far and wide to find replacement for Archbishop of Canterbury

This past March, the head of the Anglican Church, Rowan Williams, said that he would be stepping down as the Archbishop of Canterbury to take a position with Cambridge University.

After his announcement, a search immediately began for the next person to lead the world's 80 million followers of the Church of England.

Father Jonathan Boardman is the archdeacon of Rome's All Saints Church. In the search for a new Anglican Primate, he says that having transparency may be a good thing for the Church.

Fr. Jonathan Boardman - Chaplain, All Saints Church

“Absolutely bizarrely, but some people have said and rather too politically correctly, the position was advertised, but in this age when people want to see that access is open, one might say you can defend it in that way.”
The Primate is elected by a council called the Crown Nominations' Commission, or the CNC. It has 16 members that come from the Church, government, and civil society.

The council will select two names, one with a 'preferred' status to be rubber stamped by Prime Minister David Cameron on behalf of the Queen.

The Anglican community is very divided with many groups being split on how the Church should approach many social issues. The CNC will have to take this into consideration when voting for the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Fr. Jonathan Boardman - Chaplain, All Saints Church

“Clearly there will be interests across the board of disagreement about gay marriage, gay ordination, woman’s ordination, that will all be in the pot, there will be people all representing those interested positions.”
These points of conflict make the job of leading the Anglican Church especially difficult, but it's something that most followers believe must be addressed.

Fr. Jonathan Boardman - Chaplain, All Saints Church

“The new primate will undoubtedly have to be sensitive to the fact that division exists and it will be completely ridiculous to deny that it exists, it does exist.”
Father Boardman says that the process of nominating a new primate is completely open to the public, but he assures that he's not interested in the position.

Fr. Jonathan Boardman - Chaplain, All Saints Church

“People can write in names, anybody can propose somebody. So if anybody feels like proposing me, I don’t want the job.”
Archbishop Rowan Williams will leave office this December. So far, among the leading candidates are the Ugandan-born Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, the 52-year-old Bishop Christopher Cocksworth, and the 54-year-old Bishop Steven Croft.

However, a decision is not expected to be announced until after Archbishop Williams has left his post.

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