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Sydney elects new Archbishop

09 August 2013

Decisive voting: below: the opening service of the Sydney synod election, at St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, at which Dr Glenn Davies (left, with his wife, Dianne) was elected Archbishop of Sydney

Decisive voting: below: the opening service of the Sydney synod election, at St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, at which Dr Glenn Davies (left, with his...

IN AN extraordinary turn of events, the Rt Revd Dr Glenn Davies, a regional Sydney bishop, has been elected Archbishop of Sydney on the second night of the Sydney synod election.

A recount of the votes taken on Monday night, the first night of the election, revealed that Dr Davies's only rival - a Sydney rector, Canon Rick Smith - did not, after all, have sufficient votes to become formally a candidate in the election.

The voting figures released on Tuesday had suggested that Canon Smith had achieved a majority of votes in the House of Laity, but not in the Clergy; while Dr Davies had achieved majorities in both Houses. To become a candidate, a nominee had to receive a majority in at least one House.

At the second session, Canon Smith eliminated, Dr Davies was swiftly and overwhelmingly elected "without dissent in either House", the Sydney diocesan media statement said. He will be installed as Archbishop in St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, on 23 August.

The election brings to a close a fiercely fought media campaign that has run for several months between supporters of Dr Davies and Canon Smith. Dr Davies, who is 62, was strongly supported by more moderate members of the Sydney Synod, and was formally nominated by 182 people.

Canon Smith's 194 nominators included a significant number of the hardline Sydney leadership, led by the Dean of Sydney, the Very Revd Phillip Jensen, brother of the recently retired Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen.

After the vote was announced, the Archbishop-elect entered the theatre with his wife, Dianne, to sustained applause and a standing ovation. Canon Smith said in a statement to the synod: "Our first responsibility now is to pray for Glenn . . . that he will . . . with the strength and wisdom that only God can give . . . be enabled to serve and shepherd, love and listen to this wonderful diocese. 

"I know that parts of this process have been characterised by tension, as will always be the case in a political process. But it has been my great joy that, through this process, the friendship or fellowship that Glenn and I enjoy has not been impacted at all."

With just two nominations, the election process for the 12 Archbishop of Sydney differed markedly from previous elections. In 2001, when Dr Jensen was elected, there were five nominations; and in 1993, when Archbishop Henry Goodhew was elected, there were nine nominations.

Dr Davies, a biblical scholar with a doctorate from Sheffield, has been Bishop of North Sydney since 2002.


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