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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 October, 2004, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Archbishop job ad in newspapers
Dr David Hope, Archbishop of York
Dr Hope is retiring to become a parish priest
For the first time in over 1,300 years, the job of the Archbishop of York has been advertised in the press.

The successful candidate will be the Church of England's second most senior clergyman, with pastoral oversight of bishops in half the country.

The notice, inviting worshippers to propose candidates, is part of the Church's effort to be more democratic in choosing its bishops.

It follows the announcement of the incumbent Dr David Hope's resignation.

Dr Hope, 64, will be leaving his post next March to return to being a parish priest.

Greater openness

A spokesman said the notice had been placed in this week's Church Times and Church of England Newspaper.

"It is part of a move towards greater openness and transparency in the whole selection process," he said.

"We're trying to get away from the feeling it is all done by an 'old boys' network', and also to show we are getting away from that view".

The selection process was reformed after criticisms that it was too secretive and liable to be influenced.

The "sit vac" notice asks people to "comment on the needs of the diocese" as well as to propose candidates.

It also gives details of when the Vacancy in See Committee and the Crown Nominations Commission will meet.

Previously, members of the Crown Appointments Committee, as it was called, were sworn to secrecy about details of the meeting.

Long process

The notice marks the official start in a long process leading to the appointment of the new archbishop.

It includes a period where the commission "meets together for a period of work, prayer and discussion which allows for time and space to consider who best meets the needs of the role".

After this, the commission sends a shortlist of two names to the Prime Minister. He will then choose one to be forwarded to the Queen.

It will be several months before this work is completed and the next archbishop is named.

According to The Daily Telegraph, likely candidates for the role include the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, and the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev John Gladwin.

Meanwhile Dr Hope, a bishop for nearly 20 years, will take up his role as a parish priest in Ilkley, near Bradford.

In August he told BBC News Online he was looking forward to his new role.

"It is clearly a change and a challenge," he said.

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