Colin Coward has posted at Changing Attitude about The problem with (gay) bishops and the CNC.
I want to revisit Colin Slee’s posthumously published memorandum about the Southwark CNC process in the light of the subsequently published paper Choosing Bishops – The Equality Act 2010 issued by the Legal Office at Church House and the conversations I had at General Synod in York.
These documents were both originally leaked to the Guardian in May and reported there by Andrew Brown in this article: Church of England tied in knots over allowing gay men to become bishops. (Earlier TA article is here.)
Andrew reported then:
…The document reveals shouting matches and arm-twisting by the archbishops to keep out the diocese’s preferred choices as bishop: Jeffrey John, the gay dean of St Albans, and Nicholas Holtam, rector of St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London, whose wife was divorced many years ago. Eventually Christopher Chessun, then an assistant bishop, was chosen.
John, an able theologian and gifted preacher and pastor, highly regarded in the diocese and a friend of Williams, is celibate but in a longstanding civil partnership with another clergyman. He was forced by the archbishop to stand down after being appointed suffragan bishop of Reading eight years ago, following an orchestrated protest campaign by evangelicals. Holtam’s promotion had been blocked because of his wife’s divorce but he has since become bishop of Salisbury.
At the same time, the Church Times also reported this story, focusing more on the Legal Opinion, in this report: House of Bishops divided on keeping out homosexuals.
Colin Coward goes on to say:
…Colin [Slee]’s memorandum revealed information about the culture of the CNC process and the attitude towards two outstanding candidates for the episcopate, one of whom, Nick Holtam, has now been appointed to Salisbury, thanks be to God. The other, Jeffrey John is now the subject of an attempt to permanently block his preferment by the position outlined and the relevant factors listed in the Equality Act document. It is designed specifically to block any further attempt to nominate and appoint Jeffrey.
Colin Slee’s memorandum provides an inside perspective on the effect of the secrecy of the CNC process. Colin complied with the rules but was as open as possible with the candidates he nominated and with the Archbishop of Canterbury. He wrote to both Jeffery John and Nick Holtam telling them he had nominated them as mandatory candidates for Southwark in March 2010. The Archbishop replied but did not say, please don’t nominate either of them. Other people had nominated both candidates.
I have subsequently learnt that both Jeffrey and Nick have been deliberately blocked, one for Southwark and the other for Chelmsford. Who does the blocking? Lambeth staff at the Archbishop’s request?