Applicants Need Not Apply

Archbishop of Wales, Dr Rowan Williams, the next Archbishop of Canterbury. The Swansea-born Welsh-speaker was chosen Tuesday to be the 104th archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans.
Has it ever occurred to you how the Archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior religious figure in the Church of England, got his job? He was given it, that’s how.

He didn’t apply. He didn’t fill in a form, send in his resume and name a couple of saints as references. He certainly didn’t have to attend an interview or be asked awkward questions.

But it’s about to change, radically, and not just for the top dog.

Because the Church of England is desperately trying to introduce a modern management structure. So in future any ambitious padre in a dog collar who wants to upgrade from his little local parish to a proper cathedral will have to get off his knees and down to his homework. Prayers alone won’t help. But an employment consultant might.

The Church wants to stiffen up the competition and make the process a whole lot more transparent, so it isn’t just the jolly old chaps who’ve been keeping their noses clean for half their lives who get a look in for the top jobs. Enter the psychometric tests, the short-lists, even the religious headhunters who’ll sift the wheat from the chaff before the finalists get to make their pitch to the selection panel, using overhead projectors if they want to. I’m not joking.

It’s difficult to imagine prospective Bishops rushing off for last minute makeovers just to look the part on the day, but it’s coming. Of course the old guard don’t like it: “What about the emotional distress of all those deeply modest candidates who wouldn’t dream of ever attending an interview ?”, they cry. Tough, says the church.

It rather looks as though the Chosen Few are going to get properly chosen.

by Ed Boyle