Sydney’s New Archbishop

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The Synod of the Diocese of Sydney meets over the next few days to elect a new Archbishop. The new incumbent will replace Glenn Davies who retired a month ago. has an excellent summary of the four candidates:

When nominations closed on Tuesday, March 23, three bishops and the Dean of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel, had been entered in the nomination process for the post of Archbishop of Sydney.

The bishops are Chris Edwards, Peter Hayward and Michael Stead.

The nominees are (left to right in photo above):
The Very Rev Kanishka Raffel, Dean of Sydney since 2016.
Bishop Chris Edwards, Bishop of North Sydney since 2014.
Bishop Peter Hayward, Bishop of Wollongong since 2010.
Bishop Michael Stead, Bishop of South Sydney since 2015.

The process has been somewhat different to the previous election which suffered from only having two candidates resulting in what is now widely-acknowledged to have been a polarising “campaign”. By contrast Sydney Anglicans have been experiencing a very quiet time of it – you might not even know that there was going to be an election.

It’s no secret to report that Kanishka Raffel has long been considered the front-runner although all four candidates are considered to be good choices. Bishop Michael Stead, who has a doctorate in theology, has gained a solid reputation with his prominent work in various public and church debates and was also thought of as a serious contender and the other two bishops also have their supporters proclaiming their acknowledged merits.

Bishop Chris Edwards appears to be the only candidate who’s supporters have produced a website.

update: it appears the Dean’s supporters also have an online presence.

All four candidates answered questions at a forum last week and it’s possible their various answers may have swayed the minds of synod members.

Perhaps the best reporting this week, drawing on the pax SydneyAnglicanus that appears to have broken out over this election, is the sharp Damascus Dropbear…

The webpage for synod information is here. The business paper for today (Tuesday 4 May) is here and includes an outline of the election process. It is unlikely daily updates will be posted.

Of course, readers of want to know who I would have voted for if I was a member of synod and, failing that, my prediction. Here we go:

We’ve got four good nominees and either of them is sure to lead the diocese well. My hunch is still that Kanishka Raffel will be elected and, failing that, Michael Stead. But the Synod is it’s own master and dominated by laity over we clergy by a ratio of 2:1. They may be looking for something a little different to my own bubble of thought.

Do pray for the Synod is their difficult and important task this week. It’s no understatement to say that this election is important not only for the Diocese of Sydney, but also for the Anglican Church of Australia and GAFCON.


update Wednesday 5 May 2021

The results of last night’s ballots have been publicised.

Of the four candidates, only two have progressed to the select list:

Kanishka Raffel.

Michael Stead.

Which means we should get a result tonight, Wednesday.

On the votes, the momentum does seem to be with Kanishka Raffel.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Andrew Kroiter

    Are you not a member of Synod, David?

    1. David Ould

      no, not the Rector. There are a number of additional clergy but I’m not one of them.

  2. Eunice Holford

    I found the drop bear piece bizarre and inane writing. The election of the next archbishop is not an occasion for stupidity, but a time when Anglicans earnestly pray and seek the wisdom and mind of God. Frivolity detracts from the seriousness of electing Sydney’s new archbishop, and therein the role he is called to fulfill.

  3. Neil Cameron

    Wow. Two members of St Paul’s Carlingford back in the 90s are in the running for archbishop (Kanishka and Stead). I always joked that it would be Andrew Graham.

  4. Robert Bruce

    As members of the leadership team of a large affiliated evangelical church in another diocese, my wife and I look on with interest to see who will become effectively our archbishop.
    No doubt other members of affiliated churches join with us in praying for a leader who will continue to encourage churches like ours that take the gospel to unbelievers and bring them into the family of Jesus, something that seems foreign to our former diocese of Newcastle.

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