17 June 2024

The archbishop is retiring. What happens next? Explainer

Archbishop Philip Freier will retire in February 2025. What are the rules for electing a new archbishop? Picture: File.

Jenan Taylor

11 June 2024

Have you heard people mention the “archbishop election” coming up? Not sure what the deal is?

We’ve got you covered, with this explainer below.

What’s happening? Why is the archbishop retiring?

Under legislation, Archbishop Philip Freier will retire from the office of Archbishop the day after turning 70 years old, on 10 February 2025.

What happens after Archbishop Philip Freier retires?

The day Archbishop Philip Freier vacates his position, Bishop Genieve Blackwell will become administrator of the diocese, until a new archbishop is installed.

How is the next archbishop decided?

A board of nominators will shortlist between two and six candidates. This board comprises 18 clerical and lay members who were selected at the 2023 synod.

The board will bring the list of candidate names to the election synod.

Candidates for the position must be an Anglican priest or bishop, under 70 years of age, and meet safe ministry requirements.

This board will likely be convened on 10 August, six months before the archbishop steps down.

The election synod will be held sometime between 10 March and 10 August 2025, its sole business item being the election of a new archbishop.

Digital Media Specialist Andy Barras explains the archbishop election process.

Only election synod members are allowed to attend this meeting.

To be elected, a candidate needs a two-thirds majority vote from both clerical and lay members of the election synod.

What if the synod can’t decide on the next archbishop?

If no one is elected after six voting cycles, the board of nominators must start again with a fresh list of candidates.

If that new list goes through another six ballots with no result, a board of electors is then elected with 24 members.

Read more: Church votes for simplified Archbishop Election Act

They will then directly elect the archbishop with a three-quarters majority.

This will only happen if the election synod goes through 12 ballots with no result.

Can I suggest a new archbishop?

The registrar Malcolm Tadgell has asked synod members to consider suitable candidates in the coming months, and be ready to nominate them to the Board of Nominators from 10 August.

Mr Tadgell also asked them to pray for the archbishop, the administrator and those who might be willing to be considered candidates for the next archbishop.

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