He has the hawkish look of an English schoolmaster, complete with wire-rim bifocals, and with an impeccable Oxbridge accent he manifests a newly acquired ambiguity as a politician archbishop.
Dr. Donald Coggan, sixty-five years old, 101st spiritual leader of more than 70 million Anglicans worldwide, moves vigorously amongst crowds of adoring layfolk and church hierarchy alike, glad-handing it, imperious and funny in turn. His face shines with evangelical sincerity and glows with scholarly success as he talks about the Church’s role as a place of worship, holiness, and outreach to a lost world. He believes that prayer meetings and more loving, caring Christian communities make a successful church.
In private he’s sharp and evasive, and he fences questions like a politician. He eschews labels. “I’m not low church, I have a high view of things. You think I’m conservative. I would have thought I was rather liberal on a lot of issues.” He’s clever, cold, and calculating and will bully verbally if he thinks he can get away with it.
His qualifications for his new role are impeccable: undergraduate study at Cambridge; graduate theological training at Oxford; a Hebrew scholar; curate for three years at St. Mary’s, Islington, a center of the evangelical movement in a working-class district of North London. He is married to a physician’s daughter and has two daughters, both born in Canada when Coggan was professor of New Testament studies at Wycliffe College in Toronto, a post he held for seven years. On returning to England in 1944 he became principal of London College of Divinity. Then he served as bishop of Bradford from 1956 till 1961, when he was named archbishop of York, succeeding Dr. Michael Ramsey, who became archbishop of Canterbury. ...1
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