|Epstein's Majestas, Llandaff Cathedral Source: Cool Places|
The tense wait for an announcement from the Bench of Bishops is over, for now. The Bishop-elect of Llandaff is to be appointed after meeting the short-listed candidates.
Following three days of deliberations by the Church in Wales (CinW) Electoral College from 21st to 23rd February, no nominated candidate received the necessary two-thirds of the votes cast to be declared Bishop-elect. Under the CinW Constitution the task falls to the Bench of Bishops. Their meeting this week is a step in that direction.
This is an anxious time. Many Anglicans will be hoping that their preferred choice will be successful to extend sectional interests. It is gratifying to note that, on the face of it, extensive lobbying has not pushed the Bench into a hasty decision.
After the tragic episode which saw Bishop Philip North withdraw from Sheffield, a period of prayerful reflection is needed.
Many people in Wales know the hurt being felt in England. After Bishop David Thomas was not replaced following his retirement in 2008 relations have continued to sour and Church attendance has declined.
Pray that the Bench will have the imagination to appoint a bishop who is conscious of the need for the two integrities to flourish if Anglicanism as we have known it is to survive.
"Leading gay cleric Jeffrey John left off shortlist to be bishop"
It has been reported on the 'Christian Today' web site that the Dean of St Albans, the Very Rev Jeffrey John, is not on the new shortlist to be next Bishop of Llandaff. While it will disappoint some of his supporters the news comes as a welcome relief to many more.
Also, the sad news that "Former Queen's Chaplain Gavin Ashenden quits 'liberal' Church of England" here.
'Christian Today' reports
Gay cleric Jeffrey John speaks out: My homosexuality was the only reason I was blocked as Bishop of Llandaff
Not only is it too convenient to blame his rejection on his homosexuality, it is absurd. The weight of homosexuals in the Church lobbying for Dr John's appointment is testament to that. He mentions another reason, "namely that my appointment would bring unwelcome and unsettling publicity to the diocese". I am sure he has heard that before. Self promotion is no recommendation for the Episcopacy.
The latest headline from 'Christian today':
Jeffrey John: Pressure mounts on Church in Wales after allegations of homophobia
Allegations are not facts. It is noticeable that pressure groups such as One Body One Faith accuse the Church of 'unjust and discriminatory behaviour' but they completely overlook the criticism of Dr John's unorthodox interpretation of the Bible. Now why could that be?
Today's headline from 'Christian Today'.
More calls for Welsh church to make Jeffrey John a bishop
After the Chapter of St Albans Cathedral branded the treatment of their Dean, Dr Jeffrey John, 'wholly wrong' the clergy of another Anglican cathedral have "thrown their weight behind calls for a senior gay cleric to be made a bishop in Wales". The Chapter of Ely Cathedral has now added its 'unanimous support' to the growing calls for the Welsh bishops to reconsider Dr John.
I can understand the media taking Dr John's charges of homophobia at face value but for Cathedral Chapters to do the same suggests a parallel with will no-one rid the Church of England of this troublesome priest?
Critics should pause for thought. If Dr John felt aggrieved he should first have written privately to express his concerns after confidential information was scandalously leaked to him. Instead he chose to go public setting the mob loose crying "Homophobia!" when it is nothing of the sort. The pit is getting deeper. These people need to stop digging before the Church falls in.