July 12, 2010

Gay priest rejected as bishop

by Benjamin Graham

A gay priest has been blocked from becoming a bishop in the Church of England for the second time.

Dr Jeffery John, Dean of St Albans, is openly gay but practices celibacy.

According to a leak to the Telegraph, Dr John was the favoured candidate for Bishop of Southwark, but was blocked at the last minute by the appointing Commission.

In 2003 Dr John was forced to stand down from the selection process for Bishop of Reading.

LGBT Christians expressed their dismay at the Church of England’s decision.

“This is agonising news to all those who support this gifted and enlightened cleric,” the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement said in a statement.

“His appointment to Southwark would have brought with it compassion, enormous expertise and wisdom.

“The diocese is the worse off because of this sad decision to remove Jeffrey John from the shortlist.”

The Rev Sharon Ferguson, LGCM chief executive, added: “Once more the Church of England will be seen to be an anachronism by people who do not understand why Christians appear to be at the vanguard of hatred and homophobia.

“The Church had an opportunity to consider Jeffrey John on his merits and, whether he had been selected or not, send out a message that the Church of England is a place of welcome and affirmation in the love of God.”

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