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Sydney prepares for election

07 June 2013

THE synod election for a new Archbishop of Sydney is not due to start until early August, but high-profile media campaigns are already under way for two nominees.

The Rt Revd Glenn Davies, aged 62, Bishop of North Sydney since 2001, has long been thought to be the most likely successor to the Most Revd Peter Jensen, who retires next month. A 49-year-old Sydney rector, Canon Rick Smith, however, is being strongly backed by a range of Sydney diocesan power-brokers.

A website established by Bishop Davies's supporters reveals that, so far, Bishop Davies has been nominated by 80 clergy and 68 lay synod members. At least 20 nominators are required for each nomination. His nominators are generally on the more moderate side of Sydney diocesan politics. Listed as a "supporter" rather than a nominator is Archbishop Jensen's son, the Revd Dr Michael Jensen, a lecturer at Moore Theological College.

Archbishop Jensen's brother, the Dean of Sydney, the Very Revd Phillip Jensen, is also listed as one of Canon Smith's nominators on his supporters' website. The website indicates that Canon Smith is being nominated by 22 members of the Sydney synod's standing committee, including Dean Jensen; the Principal-elect of Moore Theological College, the Revd Dr Mark Thompson; and the President of the Anglican Church League, the Revd Gavin Poole.

The League, which effectively controls all Sydney-diocesan elections, is not officially endorsing any potential candidate.

The Sydney archbishopric election process is a direct synod election, without initial sifting of potential candidates by a nomination board. Nominations close on 24 June, and nominees can withdraw their names until 15 July. A final list of candidates will be released on 26 July, and the election commences on 5 August.

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