Thinking Anglicans

Church in Wales issues further statement about Llandaff

Updated again Thursday evening

This has been issued today:

Bishop of Llandaff appointment – statement

In response to further questions about the recent Electoral College for the Bishop of Llandaff , the Church in Wales has issued the following statement:

“We understand the disappointment felt by all the candidates considered by the Electoral College who did not secure enough support to be elected as Bishop of Llandaff. However we are satisfied that the Electoral College process was carried out properly and fairly.

“The meeting was confidential and we will not comment on speculation about the nomination and discussion of candidates. However, we strongly deny allegations of homophobia in the process. Neither homosexuality nor participation in a civil partnership are a bar to any candidate being either nominated or elected as a Bishop in the Church in Wales. Moreover, this was made clear to members of the Electoral College by its President, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon.

“The Constitution of the Church in Wales requires that an electoral college meets for up to three days and that if the college fails to elect, the decision passes to the Bench of Bishops. The Bishops are now acting carefully in full accordance with the Constitution. Unlike the Electoral College process, there is no fixed timetable for an appointment process, however, the Bishops would wish to announce any appointment made as soon as all necessary formalities are finalised. The appointment process is underway and we see no reason to halt it.

“The Bishops have stressed during the whole process that whoever becomes Bishop of Llandaff, whatever their circumstances, will receive their full support.”

More information: the previous statement is here.

Updates
Some further coverage of this matter:

Church Times Reconsider Jeffrey John, Welsh MPs tell Bishops

Guardian Gay clergyman turned down as Welsh bishop ‘blocked twice before’

Christian Today Welsh MPs blast Church over ‘homophobic’ treatment of gay cleric Jeffrey John and More calls for Welsh church to make Jeffrey John a bishop

And there was a open letter to the Welsh bishops from Changing Attitude Cymru which we failed to spot earlier.

And statements from the chapters of St Albans Cathedral and Ely Cathedral.

And Southwark Cathedral.

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Karen MacQueen
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Karen MacQueen

The bishops: “Everyone, just move along. There’s nothing happening here. Just go about your business.We’ll take care of everything. Just leave it to us, who know how to handle this.” The bishops are unresponsive to Dr John. They are unresponsive to Unity in Diversity. They are unresponsive to the Welsh MP’s. They desire no dialogue with anyone, other than themselves.To whom, then, are they responsive in any real way? To whom are they accountable? Do they not realize that the bullied gay and transgender kids can see right through them? What to say of we adults, who were once bullied… Read more »

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

They are on the back foot. The reference to ‘no reason to halt it’ gives it away. They have therefore discussed halting it and seem to be the only people in the land who think the process should not be halted.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

If the Church in Wales House of Bishops still protests that there is no hint of homophobia in the process of choosing the next Bishop of Llandaff, then what are its reasons for rejecting the popular vote for Dean Jeffrey John in that diocese? One can only hope that, in mitigation, the H.o.B. will now re-consider his candidature.

Edward Prebble
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Edward Prebble

In all the many comments on related threads here and elsewhere, commentators seem to be missing, or glossing over, a particular aspect of injustice towards Jeffrey John. He is paying a terrible price for being the visible face of a campaign for change. Ever since the debacle around his nomination as Bishop of Reading, he has earned significant notoriety, partly through his willingness to make strong public statements in favour of better and more just treatment by the church of LGBTi people, including himself. His recent letter is just the most recent and most “extreme” example. His letter to the… Read more »

Chead
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Chead

“Shut up and do what you’re told”, say the Bishops, who are convinced that there is no homophobia in what they have done. Well, of course they are, it’s like one of those irregular verbs:-

I follow Biblical principles
You are homophobic
He has carried out an act covered by section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

Something about beams and motes comes to mind as well.

Laurence Cunnington
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Laurence Cunnington

“Do they not realize that the bullied gay and transgender kids can see right through them?”

It’s something of a consolation that fewer than 1% of the Welsh population goes anywhere near the Church in Wales. At least its influence is virtually non-existent.

Charles Clapham
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Charles Clapham

So, the bishops argue: ‘because we state formally that we do not believe in discrimination, therefore discrimination in practice cannot occur’. Is this really how they think institutional discrimination works? Don’t they have training on this sort of thing? The rest of us certainly do.

I note that in their previous statement the bishops indicated that were they to consider Jeffrey John again at this stage, it would ‘call into question the integrity of the electoral college process’. I fear that ship has sailed…

Jeremy
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Jeremy

“[W]e strongly deny allegations of homophobia in the process.” This is disingenuous at best, as a few simple questions will show. Did “the process” include homophobic remarks? Did “the process” include homophobic votes–people voting as they did because the Dean of St. Albans is openly gay? Did “the process” involve “publicity” considerations that were present only because the Dean of St. Albans is openly gay? Did “the process” involved Communion considerations that were present only because the Dean of St. Albans is openly gay? To say that homosexuality is no bar in Wales, and at the same time to say… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

“Steady as she goes!” Alas, the most recent statement by the Welsh bishops is not a very convincing attempt to pour oil on troubled waters. Remember that to act in haste is to repent at leisure, this surely applies to making a speedy appointment to the vacant see of Llandaff following such a storm. A pause for reflection and prayer must be the most sensible option. What concerns me most about the recent disputes in the Church is the consequent emergence of what can only be called persecution. Persecution takes many forms in its most extreme form we would have… Read more »

RD
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RD

It is evident that the closed-door electoral college model used by the Church in Wales must be changed — it cannot function in the modern age. Perhaps people nowadays simply have less respect for the idea of an oath of secrecy in the first place. A bigger factor, I suspect, is that what rumors did leak out in the past were less likely to develop momentum and buzz than in today’s internet era. The effect of these rumors is deeply unfortunate. First, they are likely to be cruel and unfair to the nominees. Secondly, they place the other members of… Read more »

Nigel Evans
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Nigel Evans

If ever there was a case of heads stuck in the sand… The bishops do not get it that they are no longer trusted. Treating us like mushrooms is just going to compound the malaise created over the past decade. Whoever is the next Bishop of Llandaff may receive episcopal support; but from everyone else? This has been a shocking betrayal of trust and a continuation of the years of manipulation and lack of accountability modelled by the former Primate. We had hoped for a clear change of direction, only to discover that we are heading even further along a… Read more »

Gareth P
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Gareth P

@RD may be interested to know that a root and branch review of the Church in Wales, conducted by Lord Harries of Pentregarth, the former Bishop of Oxford, made precisely the same recommendation about the Welsh Electoral College system. This was after the widespread ire at the abuse of confidentiality in the 2008 Bangor electoral college. Not surprisingly, Barry Morgan, the recently retired Archbishop, failed to implement the recommendation. If he had, it would have stymied his manipulation of the appointment of bishops in Wales.

SMB
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SMB

It’s also disingenuous at best to suggest that the objections raised about the bishops’ process and decision-making has been the result of “the disappointment felt by all the candidates considered by the Electoral College who did not secure enough support to be elected”.

It’s a really weaselly way of suggesting Jeffrey John is just whining because he can’t deal with being a loser who lost because not enough people supported him.

Michael Mulhern
Guest
Michael Mulhern

Here in Ireland, we have a venerable tradition of Bishops being appointed by the House of Bishops after candidates failed to secure the necessary majority in the electoral college. This is, it seems, the only way we could have a woman in Pat Storey, the current Bishop of Meath & Kildare. Unlike Wales, this process has, so far as I can remember, never resulted in the House of Bishops being smeared by allegations of dishonesty and injustice. I don’t know whether this says something significant about the calibre of bishops in Ireland compared to their Welsh counterparts. Others will know… Read more »

David Richards
Guest
David Richards

I am so relieved that the Guardian has it out in the open, and the spotlight can now shine on the hypocrisy of the former Archbishop. I find the Church in Wales’ statement about him ‘reminding’ electors of the Anglican Communion ‘moratorium’ thoroughly disingenuous. Those of us present knew exactly what we were being told – and it wasn’t like the Church in Wales’ the statement to the Guardian tells it. I honestly did not think this could get any worse (and I am in a position to know that there is a lot more dirt that has been cloaked… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Good to see the Deans and Chapters of three English cathedrals (St. Albans, Ely and Southwark) coming out in support of Jeffrey John. Is there a Dean and Chapter from a Welsh cathedral willing to do the same and defy the Cymbrogi Episcopal Five?

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

The British left would rather be virtuous in futile opposition than “compromise” with the electorate, hence Corbyn.

Anglican bishops would rather be homophobic to empty churches than “compromise” with the general public, hence all this (Llandaff, Sheffield).

Clearly, to bishops in the CofE and the CofW, keeping a few homophobic and misogynistic friends onboard and avoiding the perception of “compromise” is the main issue, and empty churches are something to be worried about later, if at all.

Stanley Shaw
Guest
Stanley Shaw

Very interesting to see David Richards characterise Llandaff as a divided Diocese. It seems to me that one of the causal features of this whole sorry affair has been the unity of its Electors

RD
Guest
RD

Reading over all the comments on the various articles about the Llandaff election, I really am distressed by all the partisanship on display here at TA. How would we feel if the boot were on the other foot — if we heard that somebody like Philip North, say, had fallen just short of the required majority? Sorry for him personally, of course; but would we be outraged? Cheating, breaking the rules, lying — these are not acceptable and we would be right to be outraged if these had occurred. But the questions of ‘should representatives of other dioceses acquiesce in… Read more »

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

This is an internal provincial matter..the Church in Wales was dis-established in 1920.

Kate
Guest
Kate

It is good to see three Cathedrals come out in support of Dr John and do so publicly. They have shamed the bishops in both Wales and England who refuse to take a public stand against homophobia and discrimination.

Ken
Guest
Ken

Whatever his virtues, Jeffrey John is seemingly not destined to be a bishop – at 64 he is already on the way to retirement. There are members of the CinW who, rightly or wrongly, are not happy with the idea of an openly gay bishop just as some did not want a woman at St David’s. The process for appointing a new bishop for Llandaff has failed to agree on a candidate and it is reasonable now for the bishops to appoint. John is an able and scholarly man, but his own lobbying for the post does not help his… Read more »

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

Ken: ‘rightly or wrongly’? As Jeffrey John is living within the guidelines of the Church in Wales, let alone those of the Church of England which are stricter (i.e. in a celibate relationship within a civil partnership) there is no ‘right or wrong’ about it. It is clearly wrong to refuse a candidate solely on the grounds of his sexual orientation. There is no possible justification; if there were other reasons (which there may have been) for excluding Dr John they should have been made clear.

Stanley Shaw
Guest
Stanley Shaw

I would have thought that Dr John’s age is a virtue in this instance given the limits that it imposes on his time in office and the difficulties caused by +Morgan’s lengthy tenure

Stanley Shaw
Guest
Stanley Shaw

Just listened to Bishop of Swansea and Brecon on Radio 4; a master class in sounding shifty. Support for Dr John’s allegation of confidentiality as a mask for injustice and deception

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

And now we learn that five of the electors — five! — have filed a formal complaint, which the Church in Wales is treating as a legal matter.

Two immediate thoughts:

1. It will be very difficult to contradict the factual accounts of five witnesses.

2. This formal complaint should alert the CinW Electoral College, and also the CofE CNC, to the need to abide by their own stated policies when selecting bishops–and to the necessity of casting aside private prejudices and Communion bigotry.