Saturday, 8 July 2017

Welsh bishops' correspondence about See of Llandaff revealed

The Church Times reports a further development in the saga surrounding the choice of a new Bishop of Llandaff: Emails reveal Welsh Bishops’ anxieties over potential appointment of gay dean Jeffrey John .

We reported on earlier episodes of this matter from 24 February onwards, most easily found by using this link.

The letter from the Welsh bishops objecting to the earlier leader in the Church Times criticising them can be found here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 8 July 2017 at 10:51pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church in Wales
Comments

Grotesque emails which are evidence of nasty politics, particularly the 'lucky escape' cheap jibe. This process was probably unlawful and certainly discriminatory. Bishops hiding behind the advice of second rate advisers. The outcome is Jeffrey John lost to the Church in Wales but also June Osborne inexplicably lost to the Church of England.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Saturday, 8 July 2017 at 11:41pm BST

Since these emails were redacted, I wonder what else was said that we ought to know? And I really don't understand this animus against a celibate gay man, when we have non-celibate gay bishops. The Church seems to prize dishonesty above all else. In which case we're damned, since we follow a God who requires us to be truthful.

Posted by: Janet Fife on Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 9:33am BST

Quite apart from the issues raised by the contents of this email correspondence, I find it extraordinary that bishops would be so stupid as to write this stuff down at all. Surely if you're going to say this sort of thing, you'd do it on a phone conference, not on email?

Posted by: Peter S on Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 12:21pm BST

Yet another example of UK bishops seeing LGBT people and passing (rather smugly) by on the other side of the road - and yet another reason to thank God for the prophetic role of the Episcopal Church. Note: my parish in Seattle marched in the Pride parade, along with quite a few others, to demonstrate that we are indeed Open and Arrirming, and that at Christ's table, ALL are welcome.

Posted by: Nathaniel Brown on Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 3:42pm BST

Having initially been under the mistaken impression that this was a free and fair election, can but agree that this is sordid. Given his views on liberals, I'm no fan of John, but he was clearly the preferred and best candidate, and has been treated appallingly. If there's some way he can take action, can but wish him good luck, and pray he succeeds.

Posted by: James Byron on Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 4:30pm BST

Given the recent decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church to change its marriage canon, it is not right to lump the Scottish Bishops in with the English and Welsh ones. Generalising about the UK in general and matters ecclesiastical in particular is usually a mistake. However, it is only fair to point out that a group from Southwark Cathedral joined the London Pride March

Posted by: Daniel Lamont on Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 6:06pm BST

It is horrible. Having been on both sides of the process -- As an elector and as a candidate -- I can attest first hand that arm-twisting is part and parcel of any election -- on both sides!! And, it even starts long before any election, during the interviews and initial vetting. Nothing new here! It seems to me that it is naive not to expect the bishops trying to "inform" the minds of their delegations, about what may be convenient or expedient for the occasion. Yes, there may be bishops that remain silent and keep their own counsel. But even so, bishops may hold "fire-side chats" with their own colleagues. Again, it is a terrible process.

However, unless one were to consider an election as an act of rubber-stamping or drawing lots, any elector must wrestle with his/her own conscience, prejudices, and views at balloting's time.
Yes, we all hope that the Spirit works in such a messy process. Yet... Perhaps we put too much expectation that an election will honor God's will or, at least, be a transparent and fair process!

Posted by: Thomas M. on Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 6:50pm BST

Of course there will be information and facts not yet in the public domain. But it is very difficult to square these emails with the angry (and self-justifying) letter from the Welsh Bishops to the Church Times. Extremely hard to avoid the conclusion that Jeffrey John was entirely right in his concerns, and that the Bishops (especially John Davies) were both cowardly in their initial response to his candidacy, and dishonest in their subsequent comments. These are strong words, I know. I But necessary and (it would appear) entirely justifiable. Well done to Jeffrey John on pursuing this.

Posted by: Revd Dr Charles Clapham on Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 9:54pm BST

These emails demonstrate incontrovertibly that Bishop Davies and others actively conspired to prevent Jeffrey John's election. Now if +Davies wishes to continue with his stance that JJ's sexuality was not an issue, then perhaps he should explain what WAS the issue.
Is it that JJ is too uppity?
Is it that his public association with various campaigns for GLBt+ justice make him too divisive?
Is it that +Davies just doesn't like the guy?

I suggest that none of those reasons is sufficient to obstruct the candidacy of someone who clearly was the preferred candidate within the diocese.

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Monday, 10 July 2017 at 5:08am BST

Reading these various comments, I am very conscious that behind all this unseemly wrangle by e mails there are two people, and the people who make up the diocese of Llandaff.
First there is JJ as we all know him as today. He and his partner continue to do a good work in their posts in the Church ofEngland, and deserve our support, love and prayers.
Secondly their is June Osborne soon to be consecrated Bishop in the Church of Wales, and to be enthroned Bishop of Llandaff. June and her family deserve our support. love and prayers as June takes up this now publically challenging post.
Thirdly the good folk of the Diocese of Llandaff deserve our love, support and prayers, as with their Bishop they seek again to built up the family of the diocese to proclaim the gospel to the people of Cardiff.
The writers of the e mails have revealed their own petty minds , and must answer to God for their actions.

Fr John Emlyn

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Monday, 10 July 2017 at 8:21am BST

If John's sexuality isn't at issue, presumably the Welsh bishops are worried that he might not co-operate with their cosy little stitch-ups.

Posted by: Jo on Monday, 10 July 2017 at 8:33am BST

That two senior bishops were prepared to go to considerable lengths to deliberately lie after Jeffrey John failed to be elected Bishop of Llandaff is extraordinary - isn't it? Or have we simply become jadedly accepting of this kind of behaviour by bishops who are becoming adept at covering up? Certainly, if I were a parishioner of the Church in Wales, I would be very unhappy about either of these two bishops becoming Primate. If I were June Osborne, I would be wondering what the hell I had let myself in for.

Posted by: Michael Mulhern on Monday, 10 July 2017 at 1:02pm BST

Jo, Got it in one. Good on you.

Fr John Emlyn

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Monday, 10 July 2017 at 2:39pm BST

Given that the consecration is on Saturday, as long as neither the Bench of Bishops or Dean Osborne develop a conscience, there is little hope of justice being done. It just proves that corruption wins every time when good men and women keep silent. How sad that none of the Electoral College, having now seen the emails, has chosen to speak out

Posted by: Stanley Shaw on Friday, 14 July 2017 at 1:30pm BST

Jeffrey John is well known and liked in the diocese of Llandaff and would have been an excellent choice for bishop. He is an Anglo-Catholic, in the best Llandaff tradition (Rees, Morgan, Simon, Rogers etc). Obviously the bishops were simply nervous about his sexuality, which should not have been an issue. Barry Morgan was a disaster and now we have a woman (in itself a contentious issue) who is not Welsh, has no experience of urban ministry and is, in short, the worst possible choice for the job. All this reflects so badly on the Welsh bishops. They have imposed a totally unsuitable person on the most important diocese in the CinW.

Posted by: Ken Powell on Saturday, 22 July 2017 at 11:48am BST
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