Archbishop race begins with Williams ‘set to quit’
John Sentamu favourite to take over as Archbishop of Canterbury looks ready to leave the job early
THE CHURCH of England could soon have its first black Archbishop of Canterbury if there is any truth to the weekend speculation that Dr Rowan Williams is ready to quit the job early and return to life as a Cambridge academic.
Williams does not have to retire until he is 70 – nine years from now – but according to the Sunday Telegraph he is keen to leave next year after the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and once the crucial vote on the consecration of women bishops is out of the way.
The Telegraph claimed that other bishops have been privately calling for Williams to stand down. Although Williams is a respected intellectual, he has encountered problems getting his message across via the media.
Lambeth Palace, normally quick to deny speculation about Dr Williams, did not refute the Telegraph's story on this occasion, saying only: "We would never comment on this matter."
According to the Telegraph, Trinity College, Cambridge, is preparing to create a professorial chair for Dr Williams, who studied theology and was a chaplain at the university.
Whether Williams is really quitting or not, the power struggle to replace him has already begun, according to today's Times. The paper reports that Dr John Sentamu, the Ugandan-born Archbishop of York, and William's number two, is the favourite to succeed him.
Behind Sentamu come the Bishop of Coventry, Christopher Coxworth, an evangelical popular with Anglo-Catholics, and the Bishop of Bradford, Nick Baines, the Church of England's leading "blogging bishop". ·
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