From the Secretary General of the General Synod
Sir, — Philip Johanson’s letter about the vacancy in the see of Canterbury (Letters, 5 April) is based on two misapprehensions. First, the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) operates in accordance with the Standing Orders of the General Synod. They provide that the Archbishops’ and Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretaries are non-voting members of CNCs for all vacancies. This requirement includes vacancies for the sees of Canterbury and York.
There is nothing intriniscally strange about this arrangement, any more than there is about the freedom of all dioceses to include among their six voting members on the CNC one or more members of the diocesan bishop’s senior staff team.
Second, it would indeed be a conflict of interest for Caroline Boddington to be involved in this particular process if her husband, the Bishop of Derby, were to be a candidate. I understand, however, that he has already written to make clear that, because of his age and the stage of ministry that he has reached, he would not be prepared to be considered for the vacant see.
Great Smith Street,
London SW1P 3AZ
From the Revd Peter T. Robbins
Sir, — I strongly disagree with the Revd Steve Cook’s suggestion that the next Archbishop of Canterbury should be “drawn from across the Anglican Communion”.
I have no objection to bishops, like the present Archbishop, who have roots in the UK other than England itself, because for centuries we have moved around a bit. But surely the Primate of All England should be someone who in his bones, as it were, empathises with the Church of England and represents English insights and attitudes to the other autonomous Primates and provinces of the Anglican Fellowship.
I use the word Fellowship, because it seems already that Communion is no longer a factual description of Anglicanism. Perhaps the time has come for a chairman, or a leader, to be selected from a gathering of Primates (if they all turn up), and maybe for a fixed term of office. Such a person need not necessarily be the English Primate; so it is all the more important that our Primate is English.
PETER T. ROBBINS
Flat 5, St John’s Hospital
St John Street