Canterbury: a few to watch

by
22 March 2012

A KEY factor in the choice of Dr Williams’s successor is age. Prepara­tions for the 2018 Lambeth Confer­ence must start soon. Thus the next Archbishop will be expected to re­main in office for at least the next six years.

Dr Williams was appointed at the age of 51, and will have held office for a decade, as were his two pre­de­cessors. This time, however, there is no immediately outstanding candi­date among the younger generation of bishops. The Crown Nominations Commission might, therefore, choose a senior bishop to serve a shorter period.

The older generation

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu (62)

There is a tradition of translation from York, though this has not happened since Donald Coggan in 1974.

Dr Sentamu was enthroned in York in 2005, having been Bishop of Birmingham for three years, and, before that, the Bishop of Stepney for six years. He would be the first black Archbishop of Canterbury, and the first from the Commonwealth. He is older than Dr Williams, and would be 69 at the time of the Lambeth Conference.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres (64)

Dr Sentamu was enthroned in York in 2005, having been Bishop of Birmingham for three years, and, before that, the Bishop of Stepney for six years. He would be the first black Archbishop of Canterbury, and the first from the Commonwealth. He is older than Dr Williams, and would be 69 at the time of the Lambeth Conference.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres (64)

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, was once chaplain to Archbishop Robert Runcie, and thus knows the job from the inside. His age is a factor: the Lambeth Conference would fall at the time of his 71st birthday. He would thus be eligible only if granted an extension to his time in office.

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The Bishop of London is the third most senior bishop in the C of E, and therefore an obvious candidate. Bishop Chartres has not ordained women as priests since 1996. He is, however, popular among Evangelicals, and makes frequent appearances at events at Holy Trinity, Brompton.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James (61)

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James (61)

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, served as a chaplain to Robert Runcie and George Carey, and is another who knows the job well — perhaps too well. He told The Sunday Telegraph this week: “It was an impossible job then, and I think it’s more impossible now. Only those who don’t recognise its difficulties could possibly want to do it.”

He has, however, much to commend him: he has been a member of the House of Lords since 2004, chairs the Ministry Division, and is the Church’s spokesman on media issues. He will be 67 in July 2018.

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard (63)

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard (63)

The Rt Revd John Pritchard, became Bishop of Oxford in 2007. His background is Evangelical, but he has impressed people of other traditions during his time in the diocese. His writings have been popular, particularly The Life and Work of a Priest and How to Pray. Since his appointment as chairman of the Board of Education in 2010, he has held one of the most demand­ing briefs in the C of E.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Revd David Chillingworth

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Revd David Chillingworth

Last time, it was the Archbishop of Wales. If the CNC wishes to look beyond England again, it might well consider the Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, the Most Revd David Chillingworth, who was appointed Scottish Primus in 2009.

He is, in fact, an Irishman, coming from several generations of clerics in the Church of Ireland. Born in Dublin, he grew up in Northern Ireland, and spent most of his ministry in difficult areas of Belfast. He is an experienced church leader; he will be 67 in July 2018.

The younger generation

The younger generation

The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell (53)

The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell (53)

THE Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell has been Bishop of Chelmsford, one of the largest dioceses, since 2010. Before that, he served as Bishop of Reading for six years.

His CV includes posts in mission and evangelism, and he was a residentiary canon of Peterborough Cathedral. He has produced a number of popular books, is a vice-president of Affirming Catholicism, and is popular in his diocese for his down-to-earth manner and sense of humour.

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby (56)

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby (56)

The Bishop of Dur­ham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby, an Etonian, was consecrated in October as the fourth most senior bishop in the Church of England. He is inexperienced as a bishop, but served as Dean of Liverpool for four years before his consecration. He previously worked as a financier.

Bishop Welby has strong links with the Church in Nigeria, having spent a total of about 18 months there since 2002.

The Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth (53)

The Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth (53)

Before his appoint­ment to Coventry in November 2008, Dr Cocksworth was principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge, making him a popular choice among Open Evangelicals and Charismatics. (His father-in-law is the Rt Revd David Pytches.) Dr Cocksworth sat on the Liturgical Commission for seven years, and chaired the revision committee that has been drafting additional eucharistic prayers. He has ecumenical credentials, co-chairing the Implementation Commission of the Anglican-Methodist Covenant.

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