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’
Guardian Riazat Butt Gay clergyman blocked from becoming bishop