The Primates of the Anglican Communion should have a greater say in the appointments of future Archbishops of Canterbury, the current Archbishop, Justin Welby, said today. Archbishop Welby made his comments during a debate at the Church of England’s General Synod on the working of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) – the body that recommends appointments to diocesan bishoprics. Appointments of bishops in the Church of England are made by the Queen, as Supreme Governor of the Church, who acts on the advice of the CNC.
The CNC is usually chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury or York, dependent upon the province of the vacancy. Its membership includes central members nominated by the General Synod, and diocesan members, nominated by the diocese in which the vacancy occurs. In the case of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the CNC is chaired by an independent lay member of the Church of England, appointed by the British Prime Minister. And a Primate of the Anglican Communion is selected to join the Commission. Today, Archbishop Welby suggested that in future, the Communion should be represented by five Primates – one from each region.
In autumn 2015, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York asked Professor Oliver O’Donovan to lead a theological review into the working of the CNC. The review’s report, Discerning in Obedience, was the subject of a “take note” debate this afternoon.