Sunday, 1 April 2012

My criteria for new Primate

Members of the Church of England are being consulted (closing on 30 April)  about their criteria for the new Archbishop of Canterbury. You can give input here:

Here are "22 criteria" that I would like to see in the new Primate:

The Archbishop (s) should be someone who: 
  • adheres to the faith of the Scriptures as set out in the 39 Articles 
  • who personally relies on God through prayer.
  • loves the Word of God and The Book of Common Prayer.
  • who is a “intellectual Christian” rather than an “academic”
  • who can emotionally appeal to what Christians hold in common rather than in what they do not have in common but who respects genuinely held differences, valuing the contribution of all those in the Church.
  • who has suffered in some way (humble) and who is thoroughly converted to Christianity.
  • who has brought up children responsibly (a loving parent) if married and whose private life is engaged with family/children's genuine welfare, if not married.
  • who never does or says anything unwise, foolish or confused and whose close friends report as "the same through and through".
  • who has strength of convictions but “measures” strong statements
  • has enough spiritual charisma (even personal charisma) for the job - not someone who was simply “at University with the Prime Minister”.
  • who highly values education and whose hobby is reading quality, theological and other books e.g. who is self-educating all the time and open to learning.
  • who if asked "If we asked you to sum yourself up in just 4 words what would you say?" would reply:  "I am a Christian".
  • who is not "eccentric" in a way that the abusive taboids can mock
  • has  “above average” communication skills - who speaks simply and directly without being glib, talking in "sound bites", or to the camera.
  • who feels an equal responsibility to the Third World Church of England as to the unreached of England
  • who meets often with the clergy ministering elsewhere, especially in Africa - willing to learn from expanding churches elsewhere.
  • apolitical, except in relation to how Christianity guides politics - genuinely without a political agenda or ideology.
  • who sees themself primarily as "a servant of the Church", its weakest members and of the neediest in society: the elderly impoverished, the involuntary single, those exploited in their work, the disabled, the long term sick and their carers, those with mental illnesses, those unemployed, those in prison and the spiritually starving and uneducated here and in the wider world.
  • who champions a good ethical education plus an educated faith as a route to the most precious thing in life and who will raise learning (and what we can learn for our Christian forebears) as “a pearl of great price”.
  • with the courage of their convictions, who wants their voice to be heard seriously because it offers a perspective which is both essential and different from secularism (hence must be heard).
  • who is filled with The Holy Spirit and courage and robustly defends freedom of thought and religion.
  • has a strong sense of mission to reach out to the spiritually wandering, lost and desolate of secular England and the wider world.
  • who has the skin of a rhinoceros.


  1. "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil". (1 Timothy 3:1-7).

  2. Paolo - that just about sums it up for me, too!

    1. The text omits my point 16 - which is contained in other parts of NT. He or she also needs communcations skills - well above average. Apart from that a v useful text to use.