Gay Cleric Blocked From Post
Openly gay cleric Very Rev Jeffrey John has been blocked from becoming a Church of English Bishop by members of the Church's governing board.
On Monday traditionalist warned that appointing Rev John as the new Bishop of
Southwark would result in “very serious damage” to the church.
Dean of St. Albans, Dr John was stated to be on a list of candidates being
considered by the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) as the replacement for Rt
Rev Dr Tom Butler, who had retired earlier this year.
The body responsible for selecting bishops, the CNC met on Monday and
Tuesday to decide on two names, in order of preference, to submit to David
Cameron as the new Bishop.
After which, the Prime Minister submits a name to the Queen who then formally
nominates the candidate to the post.
According to reports, members of the CNC which include the Archbishop of
Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, have rejected Dr John's appointment.
Reform, the evangelical conservative grouping, warned the Church could face
a split if the appointment was agreed.
On Monday, Rev Paul Dawson stated: "Our view is that it would be a very
serious step for the Church of England if he were to become a bishop and it
would cause very serious damage within the Church of England itself. We think
that if this were to happen, then the sort of split that has happened in America would
be precipitated here."
After protests from traditionalist in 2003, Dr John was forced to withdraw
his acceptance of the post of Bishop of Reading.
While he is understood to live
a celibate life, Dr John is openly gay and entered a civil partnership in 2006.
Rev Colin Coward, of Changing Attitude, the Anglican pro-gay grouping,
described that even if it created a temporary split, “Dr John is a very gifted
pastor and preacher and said the Church would have to come to terms with the
presence of lesbians and gay people in every part of the communion at some
Additionally, he told The Times: “This is tragic news for Jeffrey. It must
be incredibly painful to have lived through the last few days. And now, to be
battered again by Rowan not being able to make a decision”.