Well, it was only a matter of time before the owners, trainers and punters began discussing the big race. 2013 sees the election of a new Archbishop for Sydney – possibly one of the most important and influential jobs in the Anglican Communion, given the relationships that Sydney has been building over the past 10 years, especially amonst the Global South and in GAFCON.
While there's been a fair amount of discussion in certain quarters for a few months now, the first public voice in the discussion is the Australian Church Record, whose latest edition [pdf – 1MB] has a number of relevant articles, both explicitly and also “happen to be in the same issue” .
The editorial, written by Peter Bolt, sets out 7 key criteria for the new ArchBishop:
- He must satisfy the basics (i.e. male, minister of the gospel with a character that matches the NT and BCP, etc.)
- He must be under 57
- He must be a local, already here with us in the Diocese
- He must be capable of theological leadership
- He must be psychologically robust, comfortable in his own skin
- Must be committed to mission
- He must be the people’s choice
There is also an additional editorial dealing with the question of what “Christian Leadership” is and is not and an additional article on the same subject by Moore College academic Mark Thompson. Don't forgot the front-page profiling of newly-consecrated area Bishop of Wollongong, Peter Hayward, and you do get the sense that not only are they giving us a shopping list but they're also telling us which shelves to start looking on.
Good for them, I say. Let's start having the conversation about who our next Archbishop should be.
And the conversation has started. Over at Matt Moffit's excellent Hebel commentors are weighing in…
indeed. We should certainly keep our eye out for who gets put up as a platform speaker at various events. I'm currently working my way through West Wing season 6 and its interesting to see Josh Lyman work hard to raise the profile of Presidential Candidate Matt Santos. Expect to see similar profile-raising here in Sydney.
Over at Andrew Katay's blog, similar questions are being asked around the question of “leadership”…
its pretty clear that in order to argue against ‘proven track record’ or counter a typical ‘leader’ criteria, the editor has to argue for a different kind of leader, particularly if wants to get his candidate over the line.
note the editorial.
1. don’t go for a ‘gifted’ leader he says. to do so would be to buy into neo pentecostalism or some other spirit of the age (sober warning no doubt).
2. those things that you may think are useful attributes – persuasion, personality, ability to make decisions, communication skills- apparently these should have no bearing on the kind of leader we are to look for. the new Arch won’t exhibit these signs?!
3. he says (rightly) look for the servant leader … I wholeheartedly agree! …. but since when is the ability to pursuade, make decisions, communicate well and teach antithetical to gosple shaped servant leadership? surely these need not be pitched against servant leadership.
4. he goes on ….
spotting the true leader is difficult (particularly true if you have been influenced neo pentecostal gifted leaderness) …the editor is here to help though, because in the next article he has named four potential candidates – who obviously meets his true leadership critieria – self effacing, other person centred, relationally connected, quietly godly, faithful in teaching. Again it begs the questions whether these things and the aforementioned attributes (persuasion, personality, ability to make decisions, communication skills) are mutually exclusive
which seems to lead to the conclusion that the Australian Church record is going to put forward a man of right character and conviction regardless of his capability lead a large and complex organisation such as the Diocese of Sydney?
is that good advice?
I like the idea in principle, however, the requirement of having led something full-time would *I think* have disqualified some of our great ones, including Donald Robinson and Howard Mowll.
Quite apart from our Archbishop question, previously “unproven” great leaders include Abraham Lincoln, JFK, and Barack Obama. I think their job probably matches the complexity of the Archbishop’s role
sure. there are always exceptional leaders and circumstances. but they are are that – exceptional.
I am sure if the Synod looked around and saw a man of the right convictions, character AND capabilities – that was clearly, outstandingly evident in some context, then they’d be a runner.
Perhaps one of the dilemmas at the moment is that there's no such clear front runner.
Another part of the debate is the question of having an “outsider”. So, for example, over on Craig Schafer's blog quite a while ago there were some overseas suggestions :
- Richard Coekin – probably too reactionary even for Sydney, especially given a recent snafu with the Bishop of Southwark.
- William Taylor – Rector of St Helen's Bishopsgate in London and, interestingly, twice a major podium speaker at prominent Sydney evangelical events. Not considered him before, wonder if he's simply too “posh” for Australia. Having said that, he was incredibly well received here on both occassions.
- David Short, rector of St John's Vancouver, and another battler in the Anglican Wars. This name has been bandied about here for a while. David is more “acceptable”, being a Sydney boy himself. His dad used to be a bishop here.
So those are the discussions going on here. The only other name I've heard seriously touted is Bill Salier, vice-principal at Moore College. Bill is incredibly popular amongst the student body here which won't do him any harm.
And that's pretty much it for now. Quite a few names, no-one obviously standing out. Should be fun to watch…