The current Archbishop of Sydney is retiering this week. What is the process involved in appointing the new Archbishop in the Anglican Church?

i.e. who can nominate them, who can vote for them, what voting system is used, does anyone have to approve the decision, etc.

If you feel this question is too broad, please let me know and I'll split it up.

If the process is different around the world, then please specify how it works for Sydney.

2 Answers 2


Just in case you were wondering, the Archbishop of Sydney is not the chief clergyman of the Anglican Church of Australia. That is Dr Phillip Aspinall, Archbishop of Brisbane. Also, methods of appointing bishops differ very much within the Anglican church. Typically they are elected by a synod. In the Church of England they are nominally appointed by the monarch, although the monarch acts only on the advice of the church.

The new Archbishop of Sydney will be elected by a special "election synod" (a parliament of representitives of the church, generally both clergy and laity) over the 5th-9th August.

The election of the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney is a robust, competitive and energetic internal church process, where candidates' personal lives, doctrinal views and pastoral actions are scrutinised closely, openly assessed and lobbied over. The election synod can be both unsettling and tense for Sydney Anglicans as they seek to identify the successful candidate.

I don't know what the minimum qualifications are, although I assume you would have to be a member of the Church of Australia. You do not have to already be a bishop, and there have been recent appointments of non-bishops.

  • Thanks @DJClayworth. I was aware that Jensen is just the Archbishop of Sydney, not the whole country. What is the actual process of election in the special election synod?
    – Greg
    Jul 10, 2013 at 1:47
  • The Constitution of the CofA says they can use whatever method they decide. I guess names will be proposed, there will be discussion, and they vote. Jul 10, 2013 at 20:35
  • Actually, in the Church of England diocesan bishops (including archbishops) are elected by the Dean and Chapter of the cathedral, but from a candidate list of one who has been approved by the sovereign. A typical Anglican compromise preserving the role of both! Jul 11, 2013 at 8:21
  • I thought it was the other way round, that the Dean and Chapter voted on who to recommend to the Sovereign, who then appointed their choice Jul 18, 2013 at 17:42
  • P.S. Please stop voting for this answer. Greg's is much better. Jul 18, 2013 at 17:42

There are up to 5 steps to Appointing the Archbishop in the Sydney diocess:

  • Stage 1 - Nominations
  • Stage 2 - Select List
  • Stage 3 - Final List
  • Stage 4 - Final Choice of a Nominee
  • Stage 5 - Offer, Acceptance, Declaration of Election etc

To be nominated (stage 1) 2 people from Synod must nominate a duly qualified person via a nomination form before synod sits.

Stage 2:

For the name of a nominee to be placed on the Select List, a majority of either order (lay or clergy) then present and voting must vote in favour of the motion in respect of the nominee.

Stage 3:

For a name to be placed on the Final List...,a majority of each order of the members of Synod ... must vote in favour of the motion in respect of that name.

Stage 4:

If only 1 person is on the final list then a majority of both orders will confirm their appointment. If more than 1 person is on the final list then synod will adjorn for another day and hold a preferential vote.

If at any point there are no nomonies left on the list, then the process will start again.

All references and information taken from http://www.sds.asn.au/assets/Documents/synod/Synod.2013.ArchElection/ElectionSynod.1stCircular.11Mar2013.pdf

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