From The Times
August 5, 2008
Naming new archbishops of Canterbury
Sir, As Archbishops’ appointments secretary at the time of the selection of Archbishop Rowan Williams to Canterbury, I was disappointed to note Archbishop Orombi’s misleading description of the selection process as “appointed by a secular government” (August 1).
The fact is that the Prime Minister was presented with two names elected by the Crown Appointments Commission (CAC), of whom he was obliged to choose one for recommendation to the Queen. The CAC (now the Crown Nominations Commission, CNC) is an electoral college, with clerical and lay representation from the General Synod and the Diocese of Canterbury.
The commission was informed by a substantial process of widespread consultation. The Archbishop may not recall that I personally attended a meeting of all the Anglican primates, at which support for Rowan Williams was manifest. While not at liberty to disclose details of the CAC meeting itself, I can say that I have never attended a meeting where the presence of the Holy Spirit was so clearly and movingly in evidence.
Orombi must surely be aware that a process of “election by his peers” is not always beyond criticism. And of course this was precisely the method by which Bishop Gene Robinson was selected.
Former Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments