Thursday, July 8, 2010

Church of England might get first openly gay bishop -- or not

We've been keeping an eye on this developing story the last two days. It seems that the Church of England was about to get its first openly gay bishop, Jeffrey John, (photo at right), when word leaked and Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, intervened to stop it tonight.

Keep in mind that the Prime Minister of Great Britain picks the bishops in that country, and the new prime minister, David Cameron, is decidedly friendly to gay rights. The P.M. may still go ahead with this. Here is the story from the U.K. Guardian:

Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, is embroiled in a new crisis within the Church of England over the decision to block the appointment of a gay cleric as bishop of Southwark.

Liberals and mainstream Anglicans are furious that the archbishop has once more failed to exert any leadership over mutinous forces threatening to split the church over the sensitive issue of homosexuality.

Dr Jeffrey John, the dean of St Albans, was in the running for the senior position at Southwark until his name was leaked, enabling conservative clerics to stop the appointment. An embattled Williams has now launched an inquiry at Lambeth Palace to find out who divulged the name .

The archbishop was appalled that John's name was disclosed in a successful attempt to derail his candidacy, exactly seven years after he was forced to stand down as the prospective bishop of Reading following a previous outcry by conservative evangelicals against John's sexuality. Fingers are being pointed at the same evangelical hardliners who orchestrated the 2003 campaign.

The theologian, who is now dean of St Albans and has entered a civil partnership with another clergyman, his partner of many years, has long maintained that the relationship is chaste and thus complies with Church of England rules for its gay clergy.

To read the rest of the story, click HERE.

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