Process begins to choose a successor

PUBLISHED: 10:26 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:20 26 October 2009

THE process of choosing a successor has already begun - and may take up to a year. Discussions have started in a church body called the Vacancy in See Committee, to determine what qualities the next bishop needs to have. The committee will produce a list

THE process of choosing a successor has already begun - and may take up to a year.

Discussions have started in a church body called the Vacancy in See Committee, to determine what qualities the next bishop needs to have.

The committee will produce a list of these qualities which will be sent to the Crown Nominations Commission along with a list of appropriate candidates.

Meanwhile the Archbishops' Appointments Secretaries consult the local community on what the diocese needs from the next bishop.

The nominations commission then reduces the shortlist of candidates down to five or six names which are voted on in a secret ballot to produce two finalists.

Another vote will be held to determine which candidate the commission prefers and the Prime Minister is then asked to choose one of them to commend to the Queen. When he has decided, the Queen will nominate the candidate to the Vacancy in See Committee and the College of Canons of the Cathedral formally elects the nominee.

The election will be confirmed in a ceremony at St Albans Abbey by the Archbishop of the Province, which is the final act to make the person the bishop.

A spokesman for St Albans Diocese explained that the current process, which had been in place since 1976, could take anything between six and 12 months because so many people were involved in it.

And he pointed out that although it was the church which decided who to appoint, the State was involved in the process because the bishop would sit in the House of Lords and make decisions that affected everyone.

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