Sydney Anglicans have elected Glenn Davies as their new Archbishop. Dr Davies replaces Dr Peter Jensen who held the post for 12 years. He is a familiar face for Sydney’s Anglicans serving alongside Jensen for many years as Bishop of North Sydney.
The other nominee for the post was Canon Rick Smith, the rector of Naremburn/Cammeray, a large church on Sydney’s Lower North Shore.
This election will go down as the first social media election of 2013. The other one—the Federal Election—is still being fought out. The Sydney Archiepiscopal election saw rival websites established and a barrage of Facebook posts. For the last few weeks the blogosphere has contained generally decorous postings about the candidates with some lapses in the last week. But the candidates stayed above the fray, with the winner, Glenn Davies, deciding not to campaign at all. Rick Smith held a few meet-the-candidate meetings.
The two candidates insisted on being interviewed together by the Sydney Morning Herald,
“I’m delighted that a man with such passion for and deep knowledge of the Bible will be shepherding the Anglican Diocese of Sydney,” Dr Greg Clarke CEO of the Bible Society told Eternity. “I look forward to partnering in Bible mission in Sydney and beyond with the new Archbishop.”
According to Anglican media Sydney, Davies was elected by an “overwheming majority”. After a confusing elimination ballot process in which the votes needed to be recounted after it seemed Smith had made it through, Davies was elected unopposed. “In a surprise move, Canon Smith appeared on the Synod floor and was given leave to move a motion proposing Bishop Davies name be moved to the ‘final list’, the last stage of the electoral process”, according to Anglican Media. “Canon Smith was given a standing ovation by the Synod delegates. He also led the group in prayer for Dr Davies in his new role.”
Unusually for a Sydney Clergyman, Archbishop Davies did not do his undergraduate theological studies at Moore Theological College. Instead he studied in the United States at the Presbyterian-alligned Westminster Theological Seminary. Some supporters of Canon Smith attempted to make this a campaign issue, suggesting that Davies’ theology was somehow different.
However it is the similarities between the two candidates that was most striking. Both are conservative evangelicals. Both have successfully grown churches. Both are strong leaders and Bible teachers. And both had a Jensen family backing them- Dean Phillip Jensen for Smith, and the former archbishop’s son, Michael Jensen for Davies.
Sydney, an evangelical bastion in the Anglican family of churches will be staying that way. Unlike that other election, both leaders in this poll had similar policies.