Thinking Anglicans

Southwark election news: Jeffrey John rejected

Updated Thursday morning

Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports on his blog for the Telegraph Dean Jeffrey John, leading gay cleric, rejected as next Bishop of Southwark.

I can reveal that Dr Jeffrey John, the openly gay but celibate Dean of St Albans, has been blocked from becoming a bishop once again. He has not been chosen as the next Bishop of Southwark. Liberals will be dismayed that the Church has lost its nerve – but there is no reason for evangelicals to celebrate, either…

…It is also bad news for Rowan Williams. Although he is only one of 14 members of the Commission, liberals will be perplexed as to why he allowed John’s name to be included on the shortlist if it was only to be rejected at the last minute. To be fair, he didn’t know that this fact would be leaked to me, and he is said to have been livid with the Commission that it was. But, given what happened in 2003 and his apparent distress at forcing his old friend to stand down from becoming Bishop of Reading, it will surprise many that he didn’t use his influence to try and sway the few undecided members who could have secured his selection.

The Archbishop has appeared increasingly resolute and self-assured over recent months, but liberals will be left wondering why he loses his backbone when it comes to fighting their corner. Even conservative evangelicals made clear that there was no reason to object to the dean’s appointment this time round, pointing to the fact that he has stressed that his homosexual relationship is celibate…

And the Telegraph newspaper report is now here: Gay cleric blocked from becoming Church of England bishop by Jonathan Wynne-Jones and Martin Beckford

…It is understood that discussions at the two-day meeting, held at a secret location in Stepney, were heated with members of the Commission arguing over whether they should select Dr John.

Dr Williams is said to have been furious at the pressure placed on him and the other members by a leak to The Sunday Telegraph, which revealed the dean was on the shortlist. He asked the rest of the Commission to swear an oath of secrecy about the talks.

Church insiders considered that his name would not have been included unless there were plans to make him a bishop, as Dr John was forced to stand down from becoming the Bishop of Reading in 2003 after it emerged he was in a homosexual, but celibate, relationship.

His supporters fear the development represents further embarrassment for the controversial dean and is another sign that the Archbishop is unwilling to advance the liberal cause…

Colin Coward at Changing Attitude reports also, see Jeffrey John will not be the next Bishop of Southwark

Jonathan Wynne-Jones has ‘revealed’ in the Telegraph that Jeffrey John is not to be nominated as the next Bishop of Southwark. Neither, so I am told, will Nick Holtham, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, be nominated.

This is painfully disappointing news for Jeffrey, who has lived through a week in which his identity and reputation have been pored over, analysed and attacked once again by conservative forces in the church in a way which I can only describe as poisonous. Those who claim the moral and ethical high ground in the church behave in ways which are scandalous and unchristian.

Anglican Mainstream deliberately left a link to the lecture that Dr Jeffrey John gave to the Post Lambeth 1998 Affirming Catholicism Conference entitled “The Church and Homosexuality : Post-Lambeth Reflections” at the top of their home page until this evening, when it suddenly disappeared, its work done.

How was Jonathan able to leak the news? Because someone on the Crown Nomination Commission for the Southwark appointment ignored the absolute confidentiality of the group and deliberately leaked information about yesterday’s meeting to a conservative hostile to Jeffrey and LGBT people in the church. That person, for a second time, passed the information to Jonathan Wynne-Jones – one of the non-voting members, perhaps?

Conservative Evangelicals are ruthless in their determination to win total control of the church, even if in the process, they destroy the Church of England’s ability to communicate the gospel to the nation, and destroy the unity of the Anglican Communion, by whatever unprincipled, destructive means possible.

Archbishop Rowan was apparently so furious about the first leak that he unilaterally vetoed Jeffrey’s name, betraying his friend for a second time and handing an apparent victory to the conservatives who seem to be successfully controlling him. Archbishop Rowan would have directed his anger in a more healthy direction if he had targetted the people inside and outside the Commission who have deliberately sabotaged its work…

The Press Association has Gay cleric ‘not selected for post’

Updates

AFP C of E ‘blocks’ gay cleric from becoming bishop

Guardian Riazat Butt Gay clergyman blocked from becoming bishop

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Benedict
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Benedict

Will you lot (Coward et al) just get over it! Whatever Dr John’s sexual proclivities, and that ought to be his business and not a political football in the Church, he’s simply not been considered the right person for the position. Saint Albans will continue to benefit from his ministry, which will no doubt be a cause of great celebration for his supporters there. And anyway, ordained ministry should surely not be about career aspiration, power or meritocratic ascendency.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Conservative Evangelicals are ruthless in their determination to win total control of the church, even if in the process, they destroy the Church of England’s ability to communicate the gospel to the nation, and destroy the unity of the Anglican Communion, by whatever unprincipled, destructive means possible. Preach it, Colin! “Archbishop Rowan was apparently so furious about the first leak that he unilaterally vetoed Jeffrey’s name, betraying his friend for a second time and handing an apparent victory to the conservatives who seem to be successfully controlling him.” Sadly, not surprised in the least (“friend” really should be in quotation… Read more »

karen macqueen+
Guest
karen macqueen+

“Archbishop Rowan was apparently so furious about the first leak that he unilaterally vetoed Jeffrey’s name, betraying his friend for a second time and handing an apparent victory to the conservatives who seem to be successfully controlling him.” +Rowan Williams is certainly not Jeffrey John’s friend. Nor is the friend of any other LGBT person. Let’s all stop pretending that RW is anything other than a straight man who acts like a homophobe. How is it that a nominating commission is subject to a veto by one bishop? Veto power, really?! Now +RW can ride triumphantly into General Synod where… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

From Twitter:
@RuthieGledhill: Rowan lost rag at meeting of CNC and Jeffrey John has not been chosen for Southwark. What a crazy, crazy Church.

chenier1
Guest
chenier1

Right, well; yet another epic fail on the evangelising front: ‘The Church of England’s two most senior bishops have called on fellow Anglicans to embrace the Christian mission and not “fight shy” of converting people from other faiths. In an uncharacteristically evangelical statement from a church that has tended to avoid overt proselytising in recent decades, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu said Christians should not feel “embarrassed or awkward” about bringing others towards Christianity.. Quite how we are supposed to do this in the 21st century, when people actually notice that what is preached against gay people and… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Even the Holy Spirit, evidently, cannot always control what goes on in the courts of the Church.
That may be a sign of the Church’s inability to “Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church”.
Deafness to the Holy Spirit has so often caused division in the Church. One can only pray for a new climate of Holy Listening.

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Ironic if the man who was vetoed for Southwark by George Carey for declining to repudiate his writings on homosexuality should now have vetoed Jeffrey John’s nomination to the same diocese. As Göran Koch-Swahne posted earlier today at another blog, “Judas only betrayed his chum once”.

bobinswpa
Guest
bobinswpa

Rowan Williams, Archbishop or Sadist? How’s that for a headline.

Chris Smith
Guest
Chris Smith

Although I largely agree with every comment from the poster in this thread named Karen MacQueen, I just can’t fathom that other Church of England bishops and lay people who are good and honorable human beings will allow Rowan Williams to get away with this sad and un-Christian development regarding the nomination for consecration as bishop of this honorable and humble man, Jeffrey John. To say that Rowan Williams and his ilk should be ashamed of themselves is a giant understatement. This is an act of violence against Jeffrey John and GLBT human beings. I can’t understand why there are… Read more »

JPM
Guest
JPM

You know, even Judas only betrayed his friend once.

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

I see no reason to remain in communion with Canterbury anymore. Let Rowan and the CANA crowd have each other.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Rowan lost rag at meeting of CNC”

Translation?

“What a crazy, crazy Church.”

Agreed. God bless TEC!

SCG
Guest

Another day, another disappointment from ++Rowan and the Church of England. If what Colin Coward reports is true, that the Archbishop had a hissy fit and thus deep-sixed his “friend” again, then ++Rowan really is never to be trusted, and has again shown himself to be totally irrelevant.

carl
Guest
carl

“Anglican Mainstream deliberately left a link to the lecture that Dr Jeffrey John gave to the Post Lambeth 1998 Affirming Catholicism Conference entitled “The Church and Homosexuality : Post-Lambeth Reflections” at the top of their home page until this evening, when it suddenly disappeared, its work done.” Oh, the humanity! Has such perfidy ever been experienced in the history of man? That Anglican Mainstream should deliberately and with malice aforethought post a link to lecture by Jeffrey John that he may be heard in his own words! It shocks the civilized conscience. I would not be surprised if the authorities… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Another nail in the religion’s coffin – which is good – and another wound on Christ’s Body – which is not. Rowan will answer.

MarkBrunson
Guest

“Archbishop Rowan was apparently so furious about the first leak that he unilaterally vetoed Jeffrey’s name, betraying his friend for a second time and handing an apparent victory to the conservatives who seem to be successfully controlling him.”

Surely, in a healthy religion and ecclesial structure, a person with such poor emotional control and lacking in humility as the furiously unilateral Williams would never have been allowed to become a priest – let alone primate.

Still, he does point up how much better women and gays are at the job than any conservative-leaning straight man.

junius
Guest
junius

We’re told that when Tony Blair received the names for the Diocese of Liverpool he sent them back and asked for another list with the name of James Jones on it. David Cameron should return the Southwark nominations and keep returning them until Jeffrey John’s name is there.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Rowan withdrew his name from Southwark after George invited him to a meeting at Lambeth – he found there his writings all laid out on a table …….

I think we can all pretty accurately guess at the sort of conversation that followed……

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

I am at a loss to understand why a leak by a conservative member of the CNC should result in Rowan losing his rag and vetoing the nomination of JJ. Lose your rag at the leaker for sure, but then you settle down and do what is right. Do Abps have a unilateral right of veto?

The Church of England looks reactionary and incredible in the eyes of the whole country this morning – this bit of theatre does immense damage.

Tom McLean
Guest
Tom McLean

Doesn’t the revelation that it won’t be Fr Nick or Fr Jeffrey just indicate that the CNC are looking for an existing bishop for a high profile diocese, rather than consecrating a priest to the role? And is that in any way surprising?

Sorry, I probably shoudn’t be trying to spin the story in a way that isn’t particularly controversial!!

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

I think those running the C of E must have a death wish…the Church “outsiders” read about appears more and more an institution no intelligent humane person would wish to be a part of. Meanwhile the footsloggers in the parishes utter a deep sigh and trudge despondently on…….

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Just to balance things out a little, can I point to Bishop Nick Baines’ blog please:

http://nickbaines.wordpress.com/

Fr Mark
Guest

All this culture of speculation, leaking and throwing QFs at meetings could easily be avoided if the C of E adopted an open democratic appointments procedure, surely?

Why not just have open elections of bishops? It seems to work perfectly well elsewhere. The culture of rule by club committee is far too strong in the C of E, and it leads to all these underhand methods of wielding influence.

Bob
Guest
Bob

“Conservative Evangelicals are ruthless in their determination to win total control of the church, even if in the process, they destroy the Church of England’s ability to communicate the gospel to the nation, and destroy the unity of the Anglican Communion, by whatever unprincipled, destructive means possible.”

I think the Evangelical (and Anglo-Catholic) establishment could arguably say the same thing of the Liberals?

Stuart
Guest
Stuart

Might it be worth standing back from this and asking what we actually *know* here? A journalist on a paper which is not unknown for printing as facts things which later turn out to be untrue, firstly states that he exclusively knows that Jeffrey John is going to Southwark, then states that he exclusively knows that he’s not. The blogosphere goes wild, some say it’s all a liberal plot, others say it’s all a conservative plot. Various people claim to have certain knowledge of what has happened in a private meeting, and even of what various people, including Rowan, are… Read more »

Graham Ward
Guest
Graham Ward

I’m not sure at the moment whether I’m more annoyed with the – THE presumed conservative evangelical – member of the CNC who leaked this (and who is, no doubt, feeling very proud of him/herself this morning), with Rowan for (allegedly) losing his rag and giving the conservatives eaxactly what they would have wanted, with the media for making this a huge story (highly capable Dean of major Cathedral rumoured to front-runner to be Bishop of the last Diocese he worked in…), or with myself and others for believing media rumours and getting over-excited that this would actually happen. Of… Read more »

Graham Ward
Guest
Graham Ward

+Nick Baines has blogged on the role of the media in this affair – http://nickbaines.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/media-literacy-lesson-1/ . Lots of common sense.

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

It would be good to put some of this in perspective. The fact that that there have been some conversations between one or more CNC members and the press is a scandal, but that is a matter for the CNC to deal with. They might not have technically breached confidentiality, but silences, no comment inferences etc. all go to make up a story. The key issue for people to grasp is how the CNC works. They will have considered many names for Southwark, including presumably the Dean of St Albans. During the last part of the second meeting (the two… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

If I were a sleuth, I would suspect that whoever leaked the first news of J.J.’s candidature was a member of the electing Commission – an anti-gay person – who knew that the breaking news would set the conservative element alight. The resultant withdrawal of Dr. John’s name was probably a direct consequence of the ABC’s righteous indignation at being presented with the dissidents’ fury.

frozenchristian
Guest
frozenchristian

The CNC meetings are supposed to top secret – even members’ families are not supposed to know when and where they are happening. Rowan should have perhaps called for the process to start again with a new set of members!

However, Southwark is a diosese that was always likely to get someone who is already a diocesan – or at least a suffragen. Jeffrey John would be a good bishop but maybe somwehere smaller – Durham perhaps?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“Archbishop Rowan was apparently so furious about the first leak that he unilaterally vetoed Jeffrey’s name, betraying his friend for a second time and handing an apparent victory to the conservatives who seem to be successfully controlling him.”

Passive Aggressive seems awfully easy to control…

Achilles
Guest
Achilles

Almost speechless at this apparent turn of events. I think junius has exactly the right idea – can we not bombard Cameron’s office with this proposition?! I don’t really ever have trouble stating that I am a Christian: people may not get what I get, but all except the most dogmatic atheists will at least leave me alone: but on this issue, it is *ordinary* people who don’t normally consider the faith or the church (and it is all the same to them) who are unable to comprehend that we cannot collectively ‘get over’ this question. They also intimate that… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Junius is right. This apparent outcome almost invites a prime ministerial response. The Archbishop has put Government in a difficult position.

The Archbishop has also just destroyed whatever liberal goodwill he was hoping to mobilize during Synod.

The question is whether, as a result of Southwark, the Archbishop’s amendment has gained some conservative votes. If not, it will be an interesting weekend.

Fr John
Guest
Fr John

God Bless Jeffrey and his partner. May they know Gods cuddle, and His peace at this time. Enough is enough. May our Prime minister do the right thing, and exert his influence. But who ever gets Southwark it has become a poison chalice of ABC’s making, together with the sly member of the commission, who too should be named and shamed. A closet gay, bitter at his own lack of advancement maybe, who hadnt the chance to write a preface to Crockford. Whoever they be, they should be named and shamed, and apologise to those fellow Christians they have hurt… Read more »

rjb
Guest
rjb

This is all rather confusing, and I assume that further details will emerge in time. Are we to conclude that the Archbishop nixed both candidates for the role because their names were released to the media, rather than because either of them was judged unsuitable for the job? Or were they, in fact, never shortlisted at all? In which case, why were their names leaked, and who has an interest in prejudicing the outcome of this proceding? At times one cannot help but envy our brethren in the Episcopal Church, where such appointments are handled with admirable transparency. It is… Read more »

Bill Dilworth
Guest

What a surprise – even a tame, celibate gay man is unacceptable in the CofE. What a messed up institution.

Honestly, and Rowan tries to manage ECUSA’s affairs as well as the CofE’s?

Jim Naughton
Guest

Honest question: do we know for a fact that the ABC vetoed the appointment? As an Episcopalian, I have my own reasons for wishing Dean John had been elected, but isn’t it possible that he just didn’t get the votes? I am willing to be enlightened on this.

Bill Dilworth
Guest

“This is an act of violence against Jeffrey John and GLBT human beings.”

With respect, no. No, it isn’t. And saying it is is a disservice to all the GLBT people who are the targets of actual violence. You know – the ones whose decapitated heads are discovered in African latrines, or who are beaten senseless by thugs. What happened to Dean John is shameful and wicked, an insult to gay people, but it’s not violence.

Calling every anti-gay act “violence” may be good for consciousness-raising and rallying the troops, but it cheapens the language.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Why does the church keep on making such a hash of this. The world looks on an laughs, the church has lost its integrity and credibility. The State seems to be doing much better in applying the Christian principles of justice and mercy

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/07/gay-refugees-asylum-seekers

Peter Owen
Admin

frozenchristian

The CNC meetings used to be top secret in the way you describe, but that is no longer the case. The dates are published (eg in the adverts in the Church Times that invite comments) and here on the CofE website:

http://www.cofe.anglican.org/info/asa/senappt/dbnom/cnc/

I don’t think the locations are secret any more either. I have been told that the one-day meetings are regularly held at Lambeth Palace.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“Honest question: do we know for a fact that the ABC vetoed the appointment?” Here’s what I think, informed by someone actually in the Diocese of Southwark: Jeffrey John was NEVER a finalist, althogh he may have been on a long list. The “journalist” who stirred this all up is not known for ruthless honesty. He viciously hurt Jeffrey and his partner, the people of Southwark, and many concerned Christians on both sides of the pond by stirring all this up. Now he is ‘reporting’ an equally fantasmagoric ‘conclusion’ to the story. Shame on all of us who swallowed whole… Read more »

Pantycelyn
Guest
Pantycelyn

Just to balance things out a little, can I point to Bishop Nick Baines’ blog please:

http://nickbaines.wordpress.com/

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 8 July 2010 at 8:20am

Many thanks for this –it worked !

Pantycelyn
Guest
Pantycelyn

Conservative Evangelicals are ruthless in their determination to win total control of the church, even if in the process, they destroy the Church of England’s ability to communicate the gospel to the nation, and destroy the unity of the Anglican Communion, by whatever unprincipled, destructive means possible.”

I think the Evangelical (and Anglo-Catholic) establishment could arguably say the same thing of the Liberals?

Posted by: Bob on Thursday, 8 July 2010 at 9:02am BST

I am getting the impression that ‘Christianity’ – if that’s what it is, really isn’t working.

MarkP
Guest
MarkP

Rowan’s strategy for a long time now has been to isolate TEC as a way to take heat off the CofE, elements of which have a long and rich history of blessing same sex unions, elevating all-but-publicly-gay clerics to higher office, and the like. So, he’s played on people’s stereotype of Americans as brash imperialists, even making overtures to the Canadian church to keep them off the hot seat. Making Dean John a bishop would have made that strategy impossible, and I don’t doubt that he played whatever cards he needed to (would he have threatened to resign, do you… Read more »

Andrew Brown
Guest
Andrew Brown

Jim, no we don’t know this for a fact, and there isn’t any formal mechanism by which the ABC could do that. I think we have all been played.

Rev Sidney Jensen
Guest

Our friends at STAND FIRM have helpfully posted a video of Bishop John Chane participating in Washington’s Gay Pride March. Perhaps ++Rowan should show his face at the next London Pride and see what reaction he gets.
http://www.standfirminfaith.com/?/sf/page/26334

Craig Abernethy
Guest
Craig Abernethy

I would fascinated to know what a “celibate homosexual relationship” is. Does anyone in the UK really believe that such an oxymoron, something like “a fasting meal,” is possible?

Years ago, a Protestant scholar demonstrated that in Christian antiquity the consensus opinion was that homosexuals should not be ordained. How much grief would have been avoided if that patristic opinion had been heeded!

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Beneath/within all the swampy fog and polarized dynamics of this most recent JJ situation – complicated, maybe, by leaks enhanced via spin doctoring? – we again begin to discern the dim, clear, terrible outlines of RWs real MO when it comes to queer folks and Anglicanism. RW loudly proclaims, protesting – that he is an obviously sound and decent human being who regards queer folks as humans, equals, and all that. Rws actions in the face of assault campaign dynamics (usually from the right wings of far extreme Anglicanism) again seem to clearly reveal that RW is quite willing to… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Clearly we will never know for sure what went on at the meeting in Stepney but I am grateful to Anthony Archer for putting us straight about the way the Commission operates…unfortunately most people will form their opinion from the newspapers alas. Whatever way you look at it, and we pray for a decent result, harm has been done.I do not envy the chap who does get the job..what a start! Ultimately there will have to be less secrecy and greater transparency.I just cant see how a National Church can carry on in such an arcane way..not least as the… Read more »

Pantycelyn
Guest
Pantycelyn

I wonder if John wanted it ? Might be time for fewer challanges and vexacious persons ? No ?