Saturday, 3 July 2010

Southwark episcopal election makes news

Updated Sunday lunchtime

Tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph has an article by Jonathan Wynne-Jones headlined Gay cleric in line to become bishop in Church of England.

Update

A second article in the Sunday Telegraph by Jonathan Wynne-Jones has now appeared online, see Meeting on appointment of gay bishop will determine future of the Church.

The official document entitled BRIEFING FOR MEMBERS OF VACANCY IN SEE COMMITTEES (version dated November 2009) is available here as a PDF file.

The process of selecting a diocesan bishop is also described here.

The Southwark Diocesan Statement of Needs can be found here. (PDF)

Members of the Southwark Vacancy-in-See Committee are listed here (scroll down).

The national members of the Crown Nominations Commission are listed on this page.

The Southwark nominees to the Commission are listed in this press release.

The meeting “next week” is in fact on Monday and Tuesday 5/6 July.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 3 July 2010 at 9:41pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

The appointment of Dr John would be ideal.

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Saturday, 3 July 2010 at 11:22pm BST

I wish Dr John well (although at this point I would be thinking, "Fool me once, shame on you - fool me twice..."). But I'm uneasy with his use as tame gay person.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 1:31am BST

Some of the reports on this story in the blogosphere are leaping to the conclusion that the Archbishop of Canterbury must be supporting Dr John's candidacy.

Is it not also possible that the Archbishop was simply outvoted?

Posted by: Jeremy on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 3:25am BST

Naming Dr John to this post is the only decent thing to do. His being forced to stand down for Reading was an atrocity and signaled to the fundamentalists that the ABC had no spine and would cave in to pressure. We have had nothing but trouble over this issue since then.

According to official statements, it is homosexual acts that are troubling, not homosexual orientation. So gay folk who are celibate are officially not barred from any ministry of the church.

The denial of this post to Dr John is an indefensible act even by conservatives on this issue. Its time to make things right, to move forward.

Posted by: jnwall on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 3:32am BST

"Members of the Crown Nominations Commission, the body responsible for selecting bishops, will vote this week on whether Dr John's name should now be put forward to the Prime Minister for final approval."

- Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Telegraph -

We all need to pray for the Commission, that God's choice of candidate(s) may be approved by those on the Crown Nominations Commission. I, and I am sure many others, will be glad of the possibility of Jeffrey John becoming a Bishop in the Church of England. His treatment at the hands of the Church on the last occasion was less than cordial. Let's just hope that the anti-Gay faction does not interfere with what the Holy Spirit may require of the Commission in their handling of this matter.

The actual appointment of Dean Jeffrey John would do much to assuage the distress of those who were aghast at his being side-lined for Reading. This is an important post in the Church of England (Southwark) and J J's appointment would afford a wonderful opportunity to prove that the Church is no longer intolerant of clergy whose sexual identity, ordained by God, has formerly been a barrier to ordination into the Sacred Ministry, and to roles of leadership in God's Church.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 3:50am BST

Could someone tell me the political bent of the Telegraph, and perhaps whether there is any known political (whether church or state) inclination of Mr. Wynne-Jones? The phrasing of much of the article seemed to me inflammatory - and perhaps calculated to be so.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 3:50am BST

I'm sure he's very gifted, and would make a good bishop. But why would he want to put himself through "all that" again?

Posted by: Paul Barlow on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 6:42am BST

So the *sole* difference between the (Rowan-condemned) +Glasspool in TEC, and a Rowan-consecrated (+)John in the CofE, would be the latter's stated celibacy (and, oh yeah, that Y chromosome)? O_o

I'm not buying it. I don't think it (John's elevation to the episcopate) will happen (not under Rowan!)

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 6:50am BST

Marshall:

It's also known as the Torygraph. 'Nuff said. There's a long tradition of journalists being inflammatory on this issue over here. Poor Ruth Gledhill, now behind Murdoch's Times pay wall, always seemed really provocative, but she was actually quite sympathetic with the Liberals. We all just have to be careful to read the journalists we're sympathetic with in order to reduce the likelihood of a blood pressure spike with our Wheaties (or Weetabix) in the morning...

Posted by: Scot Peterson on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 7:16am BST

I'm afraid I agree with JCF that it ain't gonna happen - the more's the pity, since the candidate is sterling. I wonder why the C-of-E uses the terminology 'celibate' (not married) to mean 'not sexually active' (but what an invasive pretention to ask candidates 'do you....???' - I wonder whether ABC asked +Glasspool? otherwise why did he go on about her? Very unanglican in my estimation)

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 7:27am BST

Reading the article, it reminds me of the kids at school who stood around shouting 'fight! fight!' whenever an argument kicked off. I wonder if for once we could resist slotting neatly into the roles that these scriptwriters give us.

Posted by: David Keen on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 9:13am BST

"Some of the reports on this story in the blogosphere are leaping to the conclusion that the Archbishop of Canterbury must be supporting Dr John's candidacy.

Is it not also possible that the Archbishop was simply outvoted?"

Maybe he hasn't got a sense of shame? But it would be an incredible loss of face...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 9:27am BST

It doesn't really mean much that he is on the shortlist. I wouldn't have expected anything else. It would only have taken one of the fourteen members of the Commission to 'mandate' his name for consideration to have him on the long list. Then he would only have needed, say six or seven of them to make it onto the shortlist. There will be probably five or six names that they will be considering tomorrow and to be nominated a candidate will need two thirds of the votes. That means that if five of the fourteen do not vote for any one candidate then that candidate cannot be nominated.

I suspect they'll pray and talk long and hard about it and come up with a less controversial candidate.

Posted by: Wilf on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 9:37am BST

"Dr John is a hugely divisive figure in the church after he was forced to stand down from becoming the Bishop of Reading in 2003 after it emerged he was in a homosexual, but celibate, relationship."

Where's the logic? Dr John was forced to stand down and that makes h i m divisive?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 9:53am BST

The Telegraph has another article this morning.

In it Jonathan Wynne-Jones predicts the likely repercussions within the Church of England, among the Anglican Communion, and vis-a-vis the Roman Catholic Church.

But he still says that "it is highly likely" that Dr. John will become a bishop.

I assume Wynne-Jones says this because someone has given him a sense of how a vote in the CNC would go tomorrow or Tuesday.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/7870316/Meeting-on-appointment-of-gay-bishop-will-determine-future-of-the-Church.html

Posted by: Jeremy on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 11:30am BST

Rabidly right-wing. (Usually) hardly fit reading matter for a(n unchaperoned) Christian.

'Could someone tell me the political bent of the Telegraph, and perhaps whether there is any known political (whether church or state) inclination of Mr. Wynne-Jones? The phrasing of much of the article seemed to me inflammatory - and perhaps calculated to be so.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Sunday, 4 July 2010

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 1:10pm BST

This looks very much like the anti-John lobby getting their retaliation in first. The Rector of Morden, who was prominent among the objectors to ++Katherine presiding and preaching at the cathedral recently, has been warning that there will be a ConEvo walkout unless they get someone of their kidney. Time to call their bluff.
cryptogram

Posted by: cryptogram on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 1:15pm BST

If he is elected by those charged with the task, he will be consecrated. Williams' has no veto. We have no 'pope'.

It is clear now, that his consecration would make no difference to the current condition of the C of E or the Anglican Communion-- the homophobes have really shot their bolt on that one. They have huffed and puffed-- but the house remains standing proud. Bullying and hate speech only hold back our agency for a limited time.

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 1:15pm BST

See some thoughtful - and skeptical - comment and over at Episcopal Cafe.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 1:56pm BST

The second article by Mr Wynne-Jones intimates that Dr Rowan is planning to use his friend a second time for his own gain. Judas only did it once.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 2:06pm BST

This must be progress I suppose -- I was ordained by 'the openly gay' (odious weasel phrase) Mervyn Stockwood of Southwark over 20 years ago and was openly gay myself. Still with the same man after 37 odd years -- openly !

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 2:36pm BST

Congratulations on your 37 years together, Pantycelyn! If the initial response over at the Anglican Mainstream is anything to go by then we will need everyone of those 37 years.

http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/2010/07/04/lynne-featherstones-proposal-for-religious-dimensions-to-civil-partnerships/

It asserts that: In Male and Female Homosexuality, Saghir and Robins found that the average male homosexual live-in relationship lasts between two and three years. Comments for the article are switched off, which is perhaps unsurprising given what follows.

What it neglects to mention is that the research in question was published in 1973, when homosexuality was still largely underground. Their research, which radically challenged the sort of views still sometimes to be found at places like Anglican Mainstream, was one of the reasons why the board of directors of the American Psychiatric Association voted in the same year to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Another reason was that there had never been much in the way of evidence to support the idea of homosexuality as a mental disorder in the first place.

This sort of disingenuous use of dubious statistics was a common feature in the Proposition 8 trial, and it was given a sound trouncing by the expert witnesses called. I appreciate that few will have the time to read the full trial transcripts, which run into four figures, but the testimony of Gregory M Herek on day 9 of the trial is a useful resource for those who wish to consider this with an open mind.

http://www.equalrightsfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Perry-Vol-9-1-22-10.pdf

And if my mental arithmetic is correct then 1973 was also the year when Pantycelyn embarked on his life-long partnership…

Posted by: chenier1 on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 5:30pm BST

Q: What is the primary objective in the minds of the Torygraph (or any other newspaper) as they run this story?

A: To sell newspapers.

As a journalist friend of mine reminded me, yesterday, the facts are presented so as to make the most 'interesting' story (he was instancing the spin on last Sunday's Westminster 'sensation').

'Take a few facts and see how mischievously we can put them together'.

It works like a dream, gets us all going; and the Rowan-bashing continues apace. Poor JJ has to live with it and so will the poor man eventually appointed who will be pilloried (probably in these columns) for not being JJ.

Posted by: Lister Tonge on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 5:42pm BST

I thought it was a done deal for Nick Holtam - hence all that business of tidying up the question of divorce etc a short time ago.......

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 6:10pm BST

Would doubt that JJ and the ABC were still friends. One-time friends surely.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 6:31pm BST

I gather from an email I have received that a campaign against Jeffrey John is growing including emails to Lambeth Palace, designed to reach Rowan before he begins the Crown Nomination Committee meeting at lunchtime tomorrow.

It's vital that Rowan is aware of the level of support, so if you think it would be a good idea for Jeffrey to be considered properly and fully by the CNC, could you write to sarah.walker@lambethpalace.org.uk AS SOON AS POSSIBLE showing your support and saying why - that he'd be an excellent bishop/teacher/pastor and a man of great and prayerful integrity.... etc ....

I hope that as many of you as possible who read Thinking Anglicans and regard him as a candidate who should be thoroughly and openly considered on his merits will write yourselves - please also tell others you know who are sympathetic to do so as well.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 7:59pm BST

The idea that the election of a gay bishop in the Church of England might be shocking news must raise a weary smile in some quarters. That particular train left the station a looong time ago.

That said, I wish Fr Jeffrey the very best - he is clearly an outstanding candidate, and even the Crown Nominations Commission can't hold out against the Holy Spirit forever.

Posted by: rjb on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 10:48pm BST

Don't start counting those chicks before they hatch!!!! And yes Pantycelyn, congrats are definitely in order!!!

Posted by: evensongjunkie on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 11:27pm BST

I must confess that I sometimes get a little dis-heartened by the negativity of some of us towards the possibility of a change of heart (and mind) on such things as this - the possibility of Jeffrey John's election to the episcopate.

If we really do believe in the power of God's Holy Spirit to move the Church in a direction that is for the ultimate good of the Church and the World, we ought to believe that - even in the present circumstances, and especially if we pray for God's will to be done - there might be a surprising and life-giving outcome. My prayers are - that God's will be done. I also pray for Jeffrey John at this time in his ministry. May God richly bless him.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 11:33pm BST

"The appointment comes at a particularly delicate time, with the Anglican Communion still coming to terms with the consecration of its first lesbian bishop in May and the imminent visit of Pope Benedict XVI, who is uncompromising in his opposition to homosexuality".

- Jonathon Wynne-Jones - Telegraph -

If Jeffrey John does become the next Bishop of Southwark, this will surely be a sign to the Pope that the Church of England rejoices in its God-given freedom to be what God might want it to be - a sign of God's redemptive power and love abroad in the Church. When Benedict 16 formally declares John Henry Newman to be a Saint, he will also be affirming a celibate same-sex partnered bishop of the Church Universal in his choice of fraternal relationship. The fact that Jeffrey John's status is similar is no coincidence. "He who has ears to hear, let him listen to what The Spirit is saying to the Church" - this still applies in today's Church - whether Roman Catholic or Anglican.

According to this article, His Holiness the Pope is 'Uncompromising in his opposition to homosexuality', while yet having acknowledged his own Church's covering up of child abuse by the Roman Catholic Clergy. This attitude does seem more than a little imbalanced, and deserving of enlightenment in the area of human development.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 11:53pm BST

Oh those pesky Erastians are popping up everywhere,from bishoprics in England to Jesuit parishes in the States. Thanks to "The lead" for the lead on this one.
http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_35081.php

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 2:18am BST

I see no correlation between the despicable way criminal perverts were continually forced on unsuspecting children by the RCC and its attitude to homosexuality.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 8:01am BST

Martin. I think that there is every correlation between the actions (or inactions) of the RC Church and its attitude to homosexuality. They are both about power and sex - a lethal combination.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 8:55am BST

'even the Crown Nominations Commission can't hold out against the Holy Spirit forever.'

rjb, please don't put money on that.

Posted by: junius on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 8:57am BST

Father Ron,

You made an interesting comments about Cardinal Newman in your posting, and I agree that the Pope's sanctification (is that the right word?) of Newman will raise many questions for the catholic church.

Just one question though, not to challenge but in a friendly spirit of enquiry. You said "When Benedict 16 formally declares John Henry Newman to be a Saint, he will also be affirming a celibate same-sex partnered bishop of the Church Universal in his choice of fraternal relationship."

On what basis do you state that Newman was celibate? We know there are many writings in which Newman affirmed his love for father St John, and in which he compared this love to married life. We also know of his stated desire to be buried with his beloved. I am not aware however of any writings on sex. Is your statement about Newman's celibacy an assumption, or based on firm knowledge from his writings or any other information?

I am not saying that Newman was certainly sexually active. I think the corect position, as stated by Tatchell, is that we should not assume anything - we simply do not know. I would argue that to make an assumption that Newman was celibate is to step beyond the available evidence.

With best wishes.

Simon

Posted by: simon dawson on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 8:58am BST

Although JHN was a Cardinal, I do not believe he was ever a bishop.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 9:24am BST

"I see no correlation between the despicable way criminal perverts were continually forced on unsuspecting children by the RCC and its attitude to homosexuality."

Both are morally wrong!

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 9:46am BST

"I see no correlation between the despicable way criminal perverts were continually forced on unsuspecting children by the RCC and its attitude to homosexuality." - Martin Reynolds -

Both are morally wrong!

- Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday -

Thank you Goran. This is precisely what was meant in my posting, referred to by Martin Reynolds.

With reference to Simon Dawson's query on Monday; you are perfectly correct, Simon. I have no evidence that Cardinal John Henry Newman was actually 'celibate' in his relationship with Fr. St.John - in terms of sexual activity. However, I am aware that Newman himself considered the relationship to be akin to that of marriage - a thought that probably would not appeal to the present Pope - nor, I suspect, to the Pope's F.i.F. devotees in the Church of England.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 11:52am BST

Newman was a priest. Not a bishop.

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 3:53pm BST

Thank you both very much, chenier1 evensongjunkie--- you are too kind ! And yes, it was 1973 !

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 3:56pm BST

I made a slip-Freudian or otherwise-- I meant to press the 3 key ! I was ordained over 30 years ago by Bishop Mervyn, the gay, Catholic, Charismatic, freethinker who helped establish 'South Bank theology' and a thriving pastoral care and counselling movement with weekly experiential groups and supervision groups. It thrived for years until Butler brought it down.

'This must be progress I suppose -- I was ordained by 'the openly gay' (odious weasel phrase) Mervyn Stockwood of Southwark over 20 years ago and was openly gay myself. Still with the same man after 37 odd years -- openly !'

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Sunday, 4 July 2010 at 2:36pm BST
Congratulations on your 37 years together,

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 4:01pm BST

The appointment comes at a particularly delicate time, with the Anglican Communion still coming to terms with the consecration of its first lesbian bishop in May and the imminent visit of Pope Benedict XVI, who is uncompromising in his opposition to homosexuality".

- Jonathon Wynne-Jones - Telegraph -

Nonsense, the visit of Joseph Ratzinger to his denomination, is irrelevant to all this. As is the consecration in the US.

If anything the time is right. It would chime in nicely with the Newman thing.


Posted by: Pantycelyn on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 4:04pm BST
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