Friday, March 23, 2012

Possible Candidates for the next Archbishop of Canterbury

Good stuff is found here in the Church Times. A few things you must know before I render opinions. One must understand that the next Archbishop of Canterbury will likely be from the Evangelical/low church end of the C of E. The candidate holding the office of Archbishop of Canterbury tends to go back and forth between Evangelicals and the High Church/Anglo-catholic crowd, and Rowan Williams was a flaming Anglo-catholic.So, you will notice that most of the people on this list are on the Low Church/Evangelical end of the spectrum.

One must also understand that the Evangelical crowd in the Church of England is very powerful and has a lot of money. There are Evangelicals in the Church of England of the American variety 'Evangelical.' This simply seldom, if at all, exists in the American Episcopal Church. When I say Evangelical, I mean it. There are Willow Creek-Mega Church C of E types that wouldn't touch a Book of Common Prayer for any amount of money. The Church of England has a much wider berth of churchmanship than does the Episcopal Church USA. Most Evangelicals and Charismatics have long since been purged or have left the Episcopal Church years ago.

Personally, I think having an African Archbishop of Canterbury would be awesome, but Archbishop Sentamu has a lot of enemies as he tends to be outspoken in public. This is ironic because he is quite mellow when he isn't being bishop. I've met him once, as his daughter was a seminarian at Ridley Hall when I was at Westcott House in Cambridge. He's a really nice guy in person.

The Bishop of London is a rather odd fellow, very charismatic in a very British sort of way, but he wears imperial purple and mitres. He doesn't ordain women, which I think will get him nowhere amongst liberals in the C of E. The people that like him, love him. That people that don't...well, let's just say they don't.

I don't know much about the other older guys. I know Chillingworth (which would be a dreadful name for an Archbishop of Canterbury in my opinion) from Scotland has a lot of enemies too. He's pretty liberal on social issues which I don't think will fly with Evangelicals in the Church of England. I don't see the Establishment bringing in an Irishman. Let's face it, if the crusty C of E folk won't touch an African for Archbishop, an Irishman is even worse in their minds. There is a reason on the Visa forms in the UK under race that there are different options for White-English, White-Irish, and White-other. (I had to query when I was applying for a Student visa more than once what they wanted on that; whether White-Irish meant Irish ethnicity or Irish nationality. I always got different answers, so I usually put White-other just to be safe.)

Of the younger guys on the list, the Bishop of Chelmsford might be a dark horse. He's pretty liberal on social issues, but very trendy. He blogs and such as that. That might have some appeal. I know a few seminarians at Westcott House from Reading that thought highly of him, and they were Anglo-catholics. He would certainly shake things up in terms of evangelism, but I don't think he knows enough insiders in the Crown Commission process to make a serious go of it .

The other two I don't know very well. I know the Ridley Hall students loved the Bishop of Coventry. He was a grand liturgical scholar. But, other than that, I don't know much about him.

Could be interesting indeed.

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