Lay Anglicans to Have a Say in Who´s Made a Bishop

LONDON, MAY 10, 2001 ( The secrecy that surrounds the appointment of Anglican bishops is to be removed with a new system that will lead to the creation of “people’s bishops,” the Times reported.

Lay people will have a bigger say in who is considered for preferment, and would-be bishops will be able to “apply” for the jobs for the first time, the newspaper said.

Although lay churchgoers have been able to give their views, the secrecy surrounding the proceedings made this hard. Now people will be encouraged to write and nominate a candidate or give an opinion on a diocesan or archiepiscopal appointment.

When it comes to the selection of an archbishop of Canterbury, voting rights are to be opened up to the worldwide Anglican Communion for the first time. This could open the door to the prospect of a non-British archbishop of Canterbury for the first time since the Reformation.

Nearly all the 43 diocesan bishops are now selected from the pool of suffragan and assistant bishops by the Crown Appointments Commission, a body created in 1977 that is so secretive that even the dates and locations of its meetings are never published.