In a most disappointing move, Jeffrey John will Not, after all, be the next Anglican bishop of Southwark.
It seems that part of the reason may have been the breach of confidentiality. Rowan Williams is said to have been furious, and insisted that he would not be “pressured” into backing any one candidate. Interestingly, a report from the Guardian earlier this week was that “sources” were that the leak had been engineered by the evangelical faction.
Part of the build-up to this was news that the evangelicals were “furious” at John’s nomination. Others will be furious that an obviously talented, capable and much-loved candidate, with close personal knowledge of Southwark diocese, has been blocked on purely ideological grounds.
From the Guardian:
Gay clergyman blocked from becoming bishop
Jeffrey John barred from becoming Bishop of Southwark – the second time that he has failed to be appointed to such a senior position following a row over his sexuality
A gay but celibate clergyman has been blocked from becoming a bishop for the second time, following a row over his inclusion on the shortlist for the choice to run the Anglican diocese of Southwark.
Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans, was under consideration for the post and would have replaced the Right Rev Tom Butler, who retired earlier this year. In 2003 Dr John had been forced to stand down from his appointment as suffragan bishop of Reading.
When news of his second candidacy was leaked, the prospect of the first openly gay bishop in the Church of England immediately angered conservative evangelicals, who threatened to seek alternative leadership overseas and warned of a schism.
The disclosure also infuriated the Crown Nominations Commission, tasked with presenting two names to the prime minister and whose members swear an oath of confidentiality regarding the nomination and selection process. The decision of the commission followed two days of heated debate. One of its 14 members is the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. He was said to be furious at the breach of secrecy, and insisted he would not be pressured into backing a particular candidate or vetoing another.
John is in a civil partnership but celibate. The news will be embarrassing and painful for the archbishop, a friend of John’s, who will once more be accused of failing to show authority and leadership during a testing time.
(Read the full report).
- Archbishop of Canterbury Has ‘No Problem’ With Gay Bishops (towleroad.com)
- still more on the Times interview (thinkinganglicans.org.uk)
- Rowan Williams backs gay bishops (guardian.co.uk)
- Archbishop of Canterbury: Gay Rows Wounding Church (nytimes.com)