Public attend Canterbury Diocese’s consultation to share views about the appointment the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury

Around 80 people attended a public consultation on Thursday evening (26 April) to discuss the appointment process for the next Archbishop of Canterbury. The event, which took place at the International Study Centre in Canterbury Cathedral precincts, was the final meeting in a series of public and private consultations organised by the Diocese of Canterbury to garner the views of members of the public and local churches.

Chaired by the Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, the public consultation provided an opportunity for the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments and the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary to note the views of local people. Comments made will contribute to a Memorandum for consideration by the Crown Nominations Commission, the body responsible for the appointment of the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

During the public consultation event, a description of the appointments’ process was explained, before the floor was opened and a number of opinions were shared.

The Venerable John Barton, a retired Archdeacon living in Canterbury, believed there was a need for someone to ‘speak to the people of England’. He added: “Whoever takes on this role must not be afraid to cause controversy and should force us to look outwards.”

Revd Canon Christopher Smith of Whitstable said he believed the person taking on the role should be ‘media savvy’. Ms. Sally Muggeridge of Tilmanstone, near Deal, reminded the floor that 20% of ordained clergy are women, adding: “I hope that whoever is the next Archbishop will work collaboratively with women clergy.”

Ms. Janet Bentley, a member of the St Cosmus and St Damian in Blean said, she echoed her fellow parishioners when she said that the Archbishop needs to be spiritual leader, who can reach out to all people, communicate well, and put Christianity at the heart of modern society.

Representatives from other denomination also attended the consultation. John Butler, a Methodist from Canterbury described the Archbishop as not just the leader of the Church of England, but also the leader of ‘Christian faith in England’. He commented: “Vibrant Christian faith in this country is dependent on good ecumenical partnerships with all the main Christian Denominations.”

The public consultation formed an early stage in the appointment process of the next Archbishop of Canterbury. The Crown Nominations Commission, which includes two bishops from the Church of England, an Archbishop from the Anglican Communion, six members of General Synod and six members elected from Canterbury Diocese’s Vacancy-in-see Committee, will meet over the summer to consider representations made through consultations in Canterbury, England and overseas before submitting the name of a preferred candidate to the Prime Minster.


 Further Information from: Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, 07876 210 446

Information for Editors

 The Crown Nominations Commission

The membership of the CNC is prescribed in the Standing Orders of the General Synod. When an Archbishop of Canterbury is to be chosen there are 16 voting members

  • The Chair (a layperson) – to be appointed by the Prime Minister
  • A Bishop – to be elected by the House of Bishops
  • The Archbishop of York or, if he chooses not to be a member of the CNC, a further Bishop to be elected by the House of Bishops
  • Six representatives elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee
  • The six representatives (three clergy and three lay) elected by General Synod to serve as members of the Commission for a five year period
  • A member of the Primates Meeting of the Anglican Communion elected by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.

In addition, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary and the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments are non-voting members of the Commission.

Canterbury’s Vacancy in See Committee

On April 2nd Canterbury’s Vacancy in See Committee met for initial discussions about the production of the Description of the Diocese and Statement of Need. During this meeting, which was chaired by Bishop Trevor, a Deputy Chairman was elected, the timetable for selection was shared and the procedures for nominations to the Crown Nominations were discussed. After the meeting nominations were opened for any members of the Vacancy-in- See Committee who wish to stand for election onto the Crown Nominations Commission.

A drafting committee was also formed who will be tasked with producing a draft Statement of Needs which describes the Diocese and the requirements for the new Archbishop.

At the second meeting of the Vacancy-in-See Committee on May 3rd, the Statement of Need will receive further consideration. During this meeting a vote will take place to select the six representatives who will serve on the Crown Nominations Committee.

Canterbury Consultations by the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments

As part of the Diocesan wide consultation, the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments and the Prime Minsters’ Appointment Secretary have spent two days in Canterbury (17th and 26th April) meeting representatives to understand the needs of the Diocese. Meetings took place with representatives from clergy, readers, chaplains, Area Deans, Lay Chairs, head teachers, diocesan officers and the Cathedral Chapter, along with civic, charity and business representatives.

Public meeting

On the evening of 26th April a public consultation meeting was held at the ISC, Canterbury Cathedral. Chaired by Bishop Trevor and with the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments and the Prime Minister’s Appointment Secretary in attendance, the meeting was open to anyone.

Following the consultations, the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments will produce a Memorandum for consideration by the CNC.

Church of England and Anglican Communion Consultation

In addition to the consultation process in the See of Canterbury, the Prime Minister’s and

Archbishops’ Secretaries for Appointments will conduct a wider consultation exercise to inform the Commission’s consideration of the needs of the mission of the wider Church of England and the Anglican Communion.

Role of the Crown Nominations Commission

Following the consultations it is expected that the Commission will have an initial meeting around the end of May to agree its process, which is likely to continue over the summer. The number of meetings will be for the Commission to determine. The process will among other things include;

  • Review of background material and results of the consultations, discussion of the challenges for the next Archbishop and, in the light of these, consideration of the personal qualities required
  • Consideration of candidates
  • Voting to identify the recommended candidate and a second appointable candidate, whose names will go forward to the Prime Minister.

Since 2007 the agreed convention in relation to episcopal appointments has been that the Prime Minister commends the name preferred by the Commission to the Queen. The second name is identified in case, for whatever reason, there is a change of circumstances which means that the appointment of the CNC’s recommended candidate cannot proceed.


Once the Queen has approved the chosen candidate and he has indicated a willingness to serve, 10 Downing St will announce the name of the Archbishop-designate. The College of Canons of Canterbury Cathedral formally elect the new Archbishop of Canterbury. The election is confirmed by a commission of diocesan bishops in a legal ceremony (the Confirmation of Election), which confers the office of Archbishop on him.

The new Archbishop does homage to Her Majesty.

The new Archbishop is formally enthroned in Canterbury Cathedral.