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Successor of Archbishop of Canterbury to be named soon

Written on:September 26, 2023
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Dr Rowan Williams was appointed the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002

The hunt for the successor to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams’ has begun, after the reverend announced his retirement, which will take effect from December.

The best man to succeed the current Archbishop of Canterbury at the Church of England will be chosen through a three-day meeting conducted by the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC), starting today.

Once the decision is taken by the CNC, which is chaired by former Tory minister Lord Luce and includes clergy and lay people, it will submit two names to Downing Street. This submission will include one name actively advocated by the commission and a second which would find acceptance if David Cameron raises objection to the first name.

As secret meeting begins today, speculations are rife that the bishop of Durham, Justin Welby, could be a likely candidate to take over Williams, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, when he steps down at the end of the year.

56-year-old Justin Welby, an evangelical, was made a bishop in November after a successful stint as the Dean of Liverpool. Though he lacks experience, some feel that his worldly wisdom, thoughtfulness and his ability to communicate well, make him a desirable candidate for the Archbishop of Canterbury position.

Others who are tipped to be frontrunners for the position include include Graham James, the liberal Anglo-Catholic bishop of Norwich, and 53-year-old evangelist Christopher Cocksworth. James Jones, the bishop of Liverpool who was recently lauded for his chairing of the panel into the Hillsborough disaster cover-up, is also being considered, while Nick Baines, the bishop of Bradford, and Stephen Cottrell, the bishop of Chelmsford are also being mentioned.

John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, and Richard Chartres, the bishop of London, the two most senior candidates, have age and experience, on their side as well as against them.

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