|Photograph: Graeme Robertson/PA|
In March 2012 when Rowan Williams announced his decision to return to academia after 10 years trying to hold the Anglican Communion together as Archbishop of Canterbury, the Guardian speculated on his successor with the bookies favourite, John Sentamu, in the lead. Now the Telegraph is running a poll which again shows John Sentamu in the lead with 38.5% of the votes followed by Richard Chartres with a respectable 23.8% and Justin Welby, enthroned less than a year ago as Bishop of Durham, in third place with 14% of the votes. Perhaps next time after more experience?
For me, Richard Chartres is the obvious choice. He has considerable gravitas and has not raised the doubts about his suitability which have dogged John Sentamu's chances. Also, as pointed out in 4 News he has actually increased attendance in his diocese, a rare attribute when church attendance is falling in this country. But the Archbishop of Canterbury is leader not just in England, but of 77 million Anglicans worldwide, the majority of whom regard the liberal direction of the church here and particularly in the US as a hindrance to the mission of the church, something which the Crown Nominations Committee now sitting must seriously consider in the interests of church unity.
you have given your Holy Spirit to the Church
to lead us into all truth:
bless with the Spirit's grace and presence
the members of the Crown Nominations Committee.
Keep them steadfast in faith and united in love,
that they may seek your will, manifest your glory
and prepare the way of your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.