NEWS
26/09/2012 17:02 BST | Updated 12/11/2012 10:24 GMT

Archbishop Of Canterbury Contender Bishop Of Norwich 'Hoping And Praying Not To Be Chosen'

One of the clergymen being considered to succeed the Archbishop of Canterbury has told the BBC he is "hoping and praying to God" not to be chosen for the position.

61-year-old Rt Rev Graham James, who is currently serving as the Bishop of Norwich, said the role was a job suited to a "lot younger man than me.”

Asked what he would do if he was chosen, he said: “I shall probably pray a lot more.”

Describing the post as head of the Church of England as a hugely important one, he nevertheless admitted the position was “massively demanding” with “lots expectation, but relatively little power and executive authority.”

The Bishop of Norwich has already served as the Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury for five years, from 1987 to 1993. He is actually one of the younger nominees for the role, with two of the most senior members being considered, York Dr John Sentamu, aged 63 and the Bishop of London Rt Rev Richard Chartres, 65.

If the latter is made Archbishop of Canterbury, the compulsory retirement age of 70 for clergy would have to be extended to allow him to preside over the 2018 Lambeth Conference, the once-a-decade gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world.

Bishop James comments came as the Crown Nominations Commission met to choose a successor to Dr Rowan Williams, who leaves his post as head of the Church of England at the end of this year.

Twitter users are being urged to use the hashtag "#prayforthecnc" as the 16 voting members of the body meets to choose possible contenders for the post of 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

It is expected they will pick two names by the end of Friday, from whom the Queen will make the final decision, in her role as the Church’s Supreme Governor.

Whoever is chosen for the position will have to provide leadership for the church on gay marriage and female bishops. Both of these have proved to be divisive issues for the Anglican church.