Ruth Gledhill in The Times reports Gay dean calls for return to ‘normal service’.
THE new Dean of St Albans pleaded last night for “normal Christian service” in the Church of England to be resumed as soon as possible.
In an unscheduled intervention during his installation at the cathedral, after the 2,000-strong congregation had given him a two-minute standing ovation, Dr Jeffrey John said: “I want to say how grateful I am for the overwhelming warmth of your welcome and strength of support of all of you.”
In his first words after his installation by the Bishop of St Albans, the Right Rev Christopher Herbert, Dr John said: “Over the last year or so I have sometimes hardly recognised myself in some of the things that have been said about me. So, I would like to say what a huge privilege and joy it is for me to be here. This is where God hopes and intends me to be and this is now home for me. I hope that from this point on, normal Christian service can be resumed in my life and in the life of this place. ”
Stewart Payne in the Telegraph Gay dean is installed - to praise not protest
Applause, not protest, greeted the appointment of the homosexual cleric Canon Jeffrey John as Dean of St Albans last night as his bishop praised his bravery “on this great and courageous and hope-filled day”.
There was only muted dissent outside the Hertfordshire cathedral and none within.
Stephen Bates in the Guardian Gay cleric in bishop row takes up role of dean
Outside the cathedral a sole demonstrator bearing a banner railing about sodomites found himself surrounded by schoolboys asking him what the word meant.
Anglican Mainstream, a conservative pressure group, announced its “deep regret” about the appointment and the damage the group claimed it would inflict. “Parishes and ministers who cannot accept this deviation from orthodox Anglican teaching will sadly now need to consider the extent to which they can involve themselves in the structures of the diocese,” the group announced.
Such sentiments appeared to cut little ice among the multitude inside the cathedral as they sang such anthems as All Creatures of Our God and King, with its lines: “All ye that are of tender heart, forgiving others, take your part”.
The congregation represented a cross-section of modern Anglicanism: respectable, middle-class and middle-aged, verging towards the elderly. The very folk usually said to be least responsive to homosexuals in their midst.
One of the lesser ironies is that Dr John will now be entitled to call himself not just Reverend but Very Reverend.
Cahal Milmo in the Independent Gay dean installed at St Albans amid protests by conservatives
More than 2,000 people crowded into St Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire, the shrine of England’s first Christian martyr, to witness Dr John take up his post.
Fears the ceremony would be marred by clashes between anti-fascist groups and the National Front, which had vowed to march on the cathedral, receded when the far-right group called off its action at the last moment.
Andrew Barrow Press Association Anglicans Asked to ‘Put Differences Aside’ (minor revision of earlier report)
The opinions of the “conservative pressure group” can be read in full here.Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 3 July 2004 at 9:03 AM GMT | TrackBack