The Crown Nominations Commission, the body tasked with choosing the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, meets this week at an undisclosed location. With a fair wind a successor to Rowan Williams could be known within a month.
The agreed name will go, along with a “reserve,” to Prime Minister David Cameron. Thanks to changes set in place by his predecessor, Gordon Brown, Cameron will not have a direct say in the matter, but will simply present the preferred name to the Queen and, if she gives her consent, will send a letter from 10 Downing Street offering the office.
In times long gone, when choosing an Archbishop of Canterbury was the sole prerogative of the British Monarch, he or she was said to have carried out this task as the representative of the laity. In 2012 the commission consists of four bishops, five clergy and seven laypersons.