Electing an archbishop

Before you make any joke about it: there was no white smoke.

On Monday evening this week about 800 synod representatives began the unusual process of electing an Archbishop; by 8pm Tuesday we had elected Glenn Davies to lead the Anglican church in Sydney. Other than the prayer throughout and bible readings and sermon in the middle, the process was ordinarily political. There was a minute book. And debating. And ayes and nays. And lots of voting by secret ballot. And God worked through it all in a weird and wonderful way. After some mean campaigning over the previous months the election itself was polite and civil on Monday, and stuffed with moments of love, reconciliation and genuine fellowship on Tuesday. At least from my perspective. If you are interested in more details, drop me a line and I’ll tell you more of the story.

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Glenn Davies accepts the synod’s invitation to become Archbishop

Now that the election is over it seems appropriate to reflect on the whole process with a round-up of some of my favourite commentary on the election campaigning. With only two candidates the campaigning was very pointy and political. Sometimes it was too painful to engage with. But sometimes it was awesome. Here were the moments I enjoyed best:

Commentary from within the Sydney Diocese
Jonathan Howes, the church planter at Canterbury Community Anglican church, weighed in regularly with comments on the campaigns. I really loved his posts because they addressed an issue I feel quite passionate about – doing church well in multicultural Sydney. Neither candidate cast a very convincing vision for multicultural ministry. I’m thankful for the way that Jono tried to keep this on the agenda.
Jono’s four archbishop posts:
A new Archbishop – An early assessment of the two candidates.
Electing a new Archbish: Diversity – Putting multicultural ministry on the agenda.
Which archbishop will help us reach multicultural Sydney? – An analysis of the candidates’ multicultural ministry strategies.
Peter Tasker for Archbishop – A tongue in cheek endorsement for a third candidate, and critique of those who campaigned for candidates based on their age.

Commentary from the broader Anglican communion
Jeremy Halcrow, the media guy with the Anglican Diocese in Canberra Goulburn, had some very interesting things to say about the impact of the election on the broader Australian Anglican church. His June article, Sydney’s Next Archbishop and a Crisis in Leadership, provided a fascinating insight into how the campaigning was perceived by many Anglicans beyond Sydney:
“If the tone of Archbishop’s election is any guide the Sydney leadership are about to hit the reset button on the Iron Curtain between us. And in the light of the Royal Commission, amongst other issues, that is very troubling.”
It was a very helpful piece to get some out-of-Sydney perspective!

Commentary from beyond the church
My favourite “normal” article was published by Sydney Morning Herald journalist Julia Baird the weekend before the election: And the winner is… decidedly male. Sometimes Julia writes things that make me squirm with discomfort; sometimes she writes things that express all the thoughts of my heart with eloquence and wit. This article was definitely in the latter category. Thanks Julia!

YouTube Videos
The prize for best video meme of the election all time goes to:

Hitler finds out that Rick Smith is running for Archbishop of Sydney

I know, I know. Hitler memes can be a little distasteful. But that’s OK. Another anonymous meme came out shortly after:

Hitler finds out that a video meme has been made about the coming archbishop elections



Fashions of Synod
Some of you, who may have read my synod adventures before, will certainly be asking “what about the fashions of Synod?!”. Sadly a ban on capturing sound and vision during the synod sessions meant that I couldn’t take any sneaky pictures of clergy and laity outfits. I was also trying to pay more attention to the debate than what people were wearing. However I can confidently report that the ratio of neckties to dog collars to knitted woolen jumpers was about the same as last year.

I tried to pick trending colour but it seems like not many people have moved past the reds and purples of previous years. I noticed few bolder young people wearing green including (as I realised when synod finished) myself and my friend Merilyn:

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We’ll see what’s on trend in Synod in October. Stay tuned.

3 thoughts on “Electing an archbishop

    1. Alison Post author

      It’s mostly unusual because it hardly ever happens! I think this is only our tenth archbishop in Sydney. Or our tenth that has been elected as opposed to appointed by the British crown. Or something like that.


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