News24

Gay priest denied bishopric

2010-07-08 17:28

London - A Church of England committee has decided against nominating a gay priest to become a bishop, British news reports said on Thursday.

Church officials would not comment, but Jonathan Wynne-Jones reported in Thursday's Daily Telegraph that the Very Reverend Jeffrey John was rejected as a potential nominee to become bishop of Southwark in south London. Other newspapers had similar reports.

John was nominated to become bishop of Reading in 2003, but withdrew in the face of an uproar from conservatives. He is now the dean of St Albans cathedral.

John, although united in a civil partnership with his long-term partner, has declared he is celibate, conforming to Anglican teaching.

Church officials had not confirmed news reports that John was on a list of candidates considered by a Crown Nominations Commission which met earlier this week in what is supposed to be a strictly confidential process.

"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," said the Reverend Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude.

His group is devoted to promoting the "full inclusion" of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion.