Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gay Bishop Row Deepens as Anglican Leaders Rebel; 16 KEY FIGURES SIGN PROTEST LETTER

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gay Bishop Row Deepens as Anglican Leaders Rebel; 16 KEY FIGURES SIGN PROTEST LETTER

Article excerpt

Byline: WAYNE VEYSEY

A DAMAGING split in the Church of England deepened today after a quarter of diocesan bishops rebelled against the appointment of a gay man as Bishop of Reading.

Sixteen bishops, nine of them diocesans, yesterday issued a strongly worded letter criticising the appointment of Dr Jeffrey John, a prominent gay rights advocate.

They included the fifth most senior bishop in the hierarchy, the Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Michael Scott-Joynt.

In spite of reassurances that Dr John was now celibate, the bishops said that they were concerned over the fact that he had been in a homosexual relationship for 20 years, and also that he had been a severe critic of orthodox Anglican teaching in the past.

Dr John, who last year contributed to a book of prayers for gay Christians, has argued in favour of the Church accepting permanent, faithful, same-sex relationships.

The bishops' letter states: "Dr John has many admirable qualities for the work of a bishop. …

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