THEOLOGIANS tasked by the Archbishops with examining the theology behind the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) have begun their work.
Chaired by Professor Oliver O’Donovan, Emeritus Professor of Christian Ethics and Practical Theology at the University of Edinburgh, the panel of eight have been told to consider not how the CNC works practically, but the thinking behind it.
The theological review was first announced at the General Synod in July after a review of the CNC’s workings since interviews were first introduced into the process in 2010. Professor O’Donovan said on Tuesday that his group would investigate how and whether the CNC was “serving the Church and finding the leadership that God wills to give it”.
”We want to think about the notion of calling and how it’s discerned,” he said. “We want to look at whether the Church is asking its new bishops to accomplish absolutely everything rather than thinking about the kind of people they need to be.”
Discussions had already begun, he said, but he did not want to anticipate in too much detail what might come out at the end of the process.
While the review was not explicitly connected to the new leadership training offered to bishops as a result of the Green report, it would tie in with some of the key themes, Professor O’Donovan also said. “We do intend to listen to what is going on there and reflect on it.”
As well as academic theologians from the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Exeter, and Aberdeen, Professor O’Donovan’s panel also includes the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Fr Thomas Seville CR — a member of the Faith and Order Commission — and the Revd Dr James Walters, a chaplain and lecturer at the LSE.
”I think the Archbishops have been able to gather quite a strong team,” Professor O’Donovan said. “It illustrates the sense of importance of the task on the part of the theological community.”
As well as discussion among themselves, the panel will invite people to meet it and make written submissions. The group will offer recommendations and guidance to the Archbishops, for presentation to the Synod in 2018.