Lecturer calls for reform of church appointments

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A LEADING theologian has called for a more democratic system of appointing archbishops following the resignation of Rowan Williams.

Dr Graeme Smith, a senior lecturer at the University of Chichester, says the new Archbishop of Canterbury should be voted in by church members through an ‘open contest’ rather than the current system that puts the power in the hands of a select group of senior clergy and General Synod members.

Dr Smith said: ‘What I would like to see is a democratic election, an open contest in which candidates put forward their ecclesial and spiritual credentials.’

He added: ‘We can expect many deserved tributes to Archbishop Williams in the coming months, not least his impressive achievement in holding together a fundamentally divided Church.

‘But, despite his Welsh background, and despite his socially liberal credentials, he turned out to be an establishment figure.’