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A new Archbishop

by on June 13, 2013

There’s a lot of hoo-hah around the diocese at the moment about the election for a new Archbishop. I instinctively find this unpleasant, but I accept that it’s largely necessary.

I have two things I’d like to say about this election. The first is a big-picture observation:

I think it’s pretty striking that there are only two candidates nominated for the post. Why is that? Does Sydney diocese have so little depth of talent or experience that we can only think of two guys who might be up to it? Or is something else going on here?

I find this disturbing. What has happened to leadership in our diocese?

In particular, is there no man in his fifties (the ideal age for an archbish) who we even want to nominate?

How can that be true?

If it is true, aren’t we worried about this? Shouldn’t we pause for a bit and ask what it means, whether we have some issues to address as a Diocese?

I don’t understand – but I do think it’s a sign of poor health when an group of our size can only come up with two names.

From → General

  1. Anon permalink

    Personally I think it is scarier that neither of these cantidates has any experience at all in mission in the regions of Western Sydney or the Georges River region. Their exposure is almost entirely to wealthy, well educated anglos. Since the future of the church in Sydney is amongst less wealthy, less educated, non anglo migrants, where does this leave us?

  2. Thanks for your comment, Anon. Stay tuned for my other concern re. this election, coming soon.

  3. Brett Hall permalink

    Neither of us know whether it’s true that there are only two men nominated. To be nominated for the election, you just need 20 members of the Synod to put in the appropriate forms by the cut-off date, which is some time this month.
    What we know, is that there are only two men who have active campaigns for the election. There may be, and likely are, others who will be/have been nominated. I’ve certainly heard names mentioned around the place.
    Additionally, the reason why, at this stage, there are two names that are well known is because there has been work going on behind the scenes for some time already. Rather than splitting votes between candidates, you might say that there is an informal culling process that has already gone on. It’s a product of political aptitude. Maybe one could object to this as a matter of process, but at the end of the day the one’s involved are all members of Synod anyway.

    In short, I’m inclined to respectfully disagree with you, brother. I don’t think that the presence of only two candidates is indicative of the things you’ve raised.

    For your information, here is an article outlining the formal process:

    • Thanks for this input, Brett, I’m pretty ignorant about this stuff. Info is appreciated.

      Let me see if I’ve understood your points.

      1. There are probably other candidates, but they are not serious contenders.

      2. There have been secret deals done in the back room to limit the choice of the Synod to two, in the interests of expediency. But this is ok since the people doing the deals are members of Synod.

      Have I got you?

      And does this lessen my feeling that something is wrong?

      • Brett Hall permalink

        G’day Jonathan,
        Thanks for the summary and clarifying questions. And please let me assure you that my tone is intended to be cordial and conversational.

        1. Close enough. I’d rather leave it to the synod to decide whether anyone else who might be nominated is a serious contender (which it does, in the sense that there are multiple lists one must pass through in the election process).

        2. No, not really. All I mean is that voting members of the Synod have met together at different times to discuss possible candidates. I’ve not been privy to these meetings, because I’m not a voting member of Synod. But clearly, seeing as I’m aware of them, they’re hardly secret, though they are private. If you wanted to be cynical, you’d call it caucusing; if you want to be generous, you’d call it brainstorming. The result is, there’s a sizeable group that have already decided that they’d like to support Glenn, and there’s a sizeable group that have already decided they’d like to support Rick. There’s certainly not one group that has colluded to ensure that there are only two candidates. Also, I feel I’m close enough to some of those involved to assure you that the process is by persuasion, rather than coercion. Ultimately, the vote is by secret ballot anyway.

        It seems to me that the campaigning thus far has been conducted cleanly, and as much as I may have a preferred candidate myself, both Glenn and Rick are Godly, capable men, who are theologically principled, love the Lord Jesus Christ, and are passionate about seeing the Gospel make an impact on Sydney. Indeed, of the others names I’ve heard thrown around, I’d happily make the same comments of them also. Compared to many other places in the world, I think that’s a sign of health. The Diocese is far from perfect; you and I certainly agree on the great needs of the under-resourced parts of Sydney. But I think the present candidates are a cause for thankfulness.

        Whether any of this lessens your feeling that something is wrong will depend only on whether anything I’ve said has persuaded you or not.

        Please forgive me if there is anything that seems ungracious in my follow-up, it’s certainly not my intention.

        Your brother in Christ,


      • Thanks Brett for your thoughtful replies. Not ungracious at all!

  4. I think a large group would prefer only one name. A few 50 yr olds were canvassed for,but were found to be too unpalatable for many Rectors. Also, Sydney has a habit of mythologising it’s leaders, so it seems like an impossible task.

    • Oh thanks Wellsie I feel much better about it now. 😉

  5. Chris S permalink

    On the other hand, it looks like an embarrassment of riches from where I stand fellows 🙂

  6. Chris S permalink

    But I do agree that in a group the size of the Syd dio, no candidate in their fifties is an interesting thing to have come about.

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