THE Dean of Sydney, the Very Revd Kanishka Raffel, has been elected Archbishop of Sydney, following the retirement of Dr Glenn Davies in March.
A board member of the conservative group GAFCON Australia, Dean Raffel was one of four candidates nominated to a special meeting of the Sydney synod (News, 1 April). The other three candidates were regional Sydney bishops. Widely tipped to be the successful candidate, Dean Raffel led clearly in each of the run-off votes during the election synod.
Dean Raffel, aged 56, is a convert from Buddhism. Born in London of Sri Lankan parents who emigrated to Australia in 1972, he became a Christian in his twenties, while studying law at Sydney University.
He has been Dean of Sydney for the past six years, after serving for 16 years as rector of a parish in Perth, Western Australia.
His consecration is expected at the end of the month. In an unusual move, the Sydney diocesan standing committee has stated that, “after consulting with the Archbishop-Elect”, the standing committee will “determine the name of a diocesan bishop to be the consecrating bishop”.
This is presumed to be a move to ensure that the consecrating bishop is not the senior bishop in the province of NSW, the Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Peter Stuart, because of his stance in favour of the blessing of same-sex marriages.
A senior priest in Newcastle diocese, Archdeacon Rod Bower, has commented: “It is difficult to imagine how Sydney’s Diocesan can now easily and effectively exercise the ministry of the Metropolitan of NSW when he cannot recognise the valid ministry of his fellow provincial bishops.”