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Thursday, 16 March 2017

Bishop of Llandaff: Stage 3

 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.

Postscript [17.03.2017]

"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.

Postscript [19.03.2017]

'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.

Postscript [20.03.2017]

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?

Postscript [21.03.2017]

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.


  1. Having flourished under the evil of Barry Morgan's regime and patronage I seriously doubt any of the current bench know what 'integrity' is much less two integrities!

  2. Three days to produce a shortlist?
    They wouldn't qualify for a productivity or performance related bonus if they were in real jobs in the real world.
    How much is this farce costing I wonder?
    One hears the members of the Electoral College were put accommodated in the 5* hotel in Cardiff bay.

    1. They were actually in a 4* hotel in Cardiff City Centre

    2. That won't be much cheaper.
      Plus taxi fares and their rum pansies.

    3. Word on the street has it that the cost of the Electoral College's stay in the hotel was £52,000. (Don't know if that included any rum pansies.)
      Why couldn't they have stayed in the former Theological College, as the bench sitters did for stage 2?

    4. As reported on a previous thread the latest RB accounts report increased losses at St. Michelle's for the last financial year, up some 50% from a loss of £200k to over £300k.
      Is it any wonder?
      It's not as though St. Michelle's could afford to turn away the business!
      Having benefited from a very recent £1.7 million refit including the installation of a lift (reminds me of the architects plans for Llys Ego in Whitchurch) what possible legitimate reason could there be for not using the splendid refurbished accommodations available there?
      Then there would have been no need for taxis (assuming the idle spongers could manage the 400 yard gentle stroll to the Cathedral) and the rum pansies in The Black Lion or The Maltsters would be considerably cheaper the 4* or 5* hotels in the city centre.
      Is there anyone in the Church in Wales that could run even a bath?

    5. £52,000! This is an unforgivable and profligate waste of resources if it is true. I would be truly disgusted if it were the case, especially with St Michael's accommodation being so close if it were available.

      Are there not 47 electors? It must be a given that a number live in Cardiff and could go home. 52 divided by 47 is a budget of over £1,100 per person for a 3 day sitting? Come on, in anyone's book, this is simply ridiculous.

      I weep when I think that 50k could employ a youth worker for 2 years for goodness sake!

  3. Forgive me for not being 'moderate' AB. Is this another stitch up?

    Clifford Williams

  4. Alwyn from Abertawe17 March 2017 at 16:55

    The longer they take, the better. Three weeks was obscenely rapid for an election after Morgan slung his hook, and it showed that this short time-frame was all about stitching up the result. Well, this time it failed. One to the Holy Spirit; zero to Morgan the Golfer. If London can wait 10 months for a bishop, I don't see why the Bench Sitters cannot draw up a list in their 4 or 5 star hotel in the Bay this week, and then do what the rest of the Church does: pray and wait upon the Holy Spirit. We do not want a re-run of Bangor 2008 and St David's 2016, after they were saddled with complete numpties because Morgan couldn't face having strong candidates appointed. Something tells me that, if they give themselves time, they could get this one right. Or I could be very wrong, of course.

    1. What would Jesus say?17 March 2017 at 17:42

      I agree with most of your remarks Alwyn but the first problem is that the Holy Ghost is having to deal with the Welsh benches, every one of which owes their exalted position to bully boy Bazza. The second problem is that 2 of the 5 are precisely the same numpties you refer to in your post.

  5. If it is true - as has been reported - that Jeffrey John has now been left off the shortlist of candidates for consideration to be the Bishop of Llandaff, then I am outraged. Every Llandaff member of the electoral college voted for him and let us been in no doubt, JJ would accept. Omitting JJ from the short list (if it is true) is a clear action of institutional homophobia and the bench would need to hang their mitres in shame if this proves to be the case.

    If however the recent reporting is incorrect on this, then well done Bench for putting your money where episcopal mouths have been (i.e. your well drafted letters over the years denouncing homophobia when civil partnerships were discussed some years back or your appointments of LGBT chaplains up in the North). If however Jeffrey John is not on that short list then the letters you have carefully written as a bench (and which have been held by LGBT peoples to be a model of pastoral care and a sign of our inclusive place within the church) will need to be torn up as meaningless and you will have betrayed us wholesale.

    Jeffrey John secured the backing of ALL the Llandaff electors at the electoral college (and I am pleased that this has been leaked and that our electors have refused to collude with any hint of homophobia and I don't give a jot if that leak angers anyone). There should therefore be no question of his inclusion on any short list.

    So I am praying earnestly that what came out yesterday was fake news, but if it is not, I will be ashamed to learn that our bishops may have taken a decision, the gravity of which they can not possibly have considered in terms of undermining the good work the bench have done to include LGBT peoples over the last decade. I am not saying JJ should automatically be Bishop but if he is not on that short list, then shame on you.

  6. In their pastoral letter following the marriage debate around same sex marriage the Bishops wrote ... "Nevertheless, we acknowledge the gay and lesbian members of our Church as part of our family, and we wish to address them directly"

    It was nice that they wanted to address us directly because what they want on to say was this:

    “Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

    We recognise that you have often been persecuted and ostracized by the Church for your sexuality, that you have been mistreated by the Church, and forced into secrecy and dissimulation by the attitudes of prejudice which you have faced. We deplore such hostility, and welcome and affirm the words of the Primates that condemn homophobic prejudice and violence. We too commit ourselves to offering you the same loving service and pastoral care to which all humanity is entitled, and we commit ourselves to acting to provide a safe space within the Church and within our communities in which you can be honest and open, respected and affirmed.

    While as a Church we remain unable to bless the committed partnerships you form in marriage or in civil partnership, yet we commit ourselves as bishops to work for a Church in which you can be fully affirmed as equal disciples of Jesus Christ or seekers after truth. We will pray with you and for you, that together we may seek God’s blessing on our lives, and for faithful discipleship.”

    Thank you for that Bishops.

    I now wish to address you (via this website) directly, desperately ... I mean, desperately. I want yesterday's news to be fake, because if it isn't, those words you addressed to the LGBT members of the church above, are fake, and I don't want them to be. If Jeffrey John is not on your short list, then the words above are a lie - they can not be true. And so I want to address you directly and asks that you are true your commitment to "work for a Church in which you (i.e. my kind) can be fully affirmed as equal disciples of Jesus Christ or seekers after truth". The meeting you have just held was such an opportunity to show us how committed you are to that work - and Jeffrey John's mere name on that list will prove to us how committed you are.

    1. @scapegoat : précis please ?

    2. What would Jesus say?18 March 2017 at 09:41

      Empty posturing on your part to blackmail the Bishop's into appointing your chosen candidate.
      What if Jeffrey John has chosen to withdraw or declined to be re-nominated?
      Even if Jeffrey John's name isn't on the shortlist but the names of other homosexuals are, then what of your whinings of "homophobia"?

    3. As I say, I am not calling for Dr John to be appointed and his name was not the name I personally wrote in to suggest (nor was the name I suggested either male or a homosexual). So you're wrong there I'm afraid. I'm not demanding my preferred candidate or throwing my toys out of my so-called gay pram. I'm commenting on the injustice I see in this process (as leaked/presented). And let's hope it is fake but I somehow fear it may not be.

      The point I make has to do with issues of congruence and justice and an attempt to disarm the powers that continue to prevail and which Dr John is the victim. That said, I happen to believe he would make an incredible Bishop, but it's not my place to dictate who that should be.

    4. Tosh and sophistry. You doth protest too much.
      The various leaks have identified two candidates who didn't get the job during the Electoral College proceedings. One was named as Jeffrey John and the other as a former Archbishop's Chaplain. Everyone in Llandaff knows who he is, that he's gay and has a boyfriend.
      But no-one, including you Scapegoat, has taken up the cudgels on his behalf, written to MPs, had questions raised in the House of Commons, leaked his name to Christian Today or WalesOnline, screamed "Homophobia" in relation to him.
      Two gays, treated the same by the Electoral College, treated differently by you and the press.
      With the prevalence of homosexuals in the clergy there's every likelihood other gay candidates also failed to get past the Electoral College post, but not a squeek out of you or anyone else about them either.
      Just Jeffery John.
      Always jeffrey John.
      Every time, only Jeffery John.
      Jeffrey John ad nauseum.
      Congruence and justice?
      Don't make me laugh.
      Perhaps you'd call the Holy Ghost homophobic too.
      This latest 'poor Jeffrey John the victim' story has nothing to do with homophobia and everything to do with Barry Morgan still attempting to pull strings and impose his politically correct secular agenda on Llandaff and the C in W.

    5. Why do my particular views have anything to do with the former Archbishop? Nobody is pull my strings, let me tell you! Nobody!

      I had no idea that 'the former Archbishop's Chaplain' was proposed, all I know is that Jeffrey John was the unanimous candidate put forward by those representing the Diocese on the electoral college. It's for that reason I am commenting on the injustice, institutionalised homophobia and dissimulation of Jeffrey that is reported to have taken place before, during and after the College. Furthermore, if Dr John has been banished from the short list (as reported by Christianity Today) then that is further evidence of that this has everything to do with homophobia, for what else could it be.

      As for demeaning my reasoning as sophistry, I would expect nothing less - it's precisely the dissimulation that the bishops talk of in their letter - it's easier to parody, misrepresent and belittle my views precisely because there of those of someone who is gay. I'm afraid you are the victim of homophobia, not me and sadly those strings pull you more than you can apparently see.

    6. Ordure fit only for my roses or rhubarb.
      You've been reading and commenting on this blog for weeks so to claim you know nothing of an former Archbishop's Chaplain is either a lie or a conveniently selective memory.

    7. @Simple

      In all honesty, I have no idea who else was proposed at the Electoral College - the two electors I have spoken to have not mentioned other candidates (nor have I asked names) they have simply been concerned to share what happened in relation to Dr. John.

      Yes there has been gossip here about other candidates, but I take that with a pinch of salt.

    8. How convenient for you your two gossiping electors didn't mention anyone else, very selective of them.
      Since you're so righteous you should name and shame them for breaching confidences and gossiping.
      Bet my mortgage you won't!

    9. As I have said elsewhere, there is nothing sacred about a confidentiality that conspires with structural injustice; and no, of course I am not going to name those who have shared their deep concern with me about this matter.

      In addition, I do not also consider myself righteous but I do admire my two friends for breaching confidence when to have remained silent would have been a deep betrayal and akin to the kind of dissimulation of LGBT people that the Bishops are eager to denounce as sinful.

      In the profession I work in, we call this whistle-blowing: the unauthorised disclosure of information that points to the contravention of that which is deemed unethical and unacceptable. Those caught out by such disclosures are quick to try and shame those who have the courage to speak 'truth to the powers that be'. So let's not add to the structural injustice by labelling this as gossip - it's much more serious and endemic an issue than that and it will take more than your mortgage to redeem it. Far from 'convenient', what their whistle-blowing reveals is the inconvenient truth that the ecclesial structures we inhabit are predicted on deep seated homophobia of which Jeffrey John is the recipient.

    10. Rhubarb Rhubarb Rhubarb.
      Your loose tongued electors failed to mention any other homosexual candidates?
      Convenience Convenience Convenience.

    11. Inconvenience, I'm afraid. As I say, whistle-blowing for there is nothing sacred about a confidentiality that masks structural injustice. And no, they did not mention any other candidates save the one so easily dissimulated.

      Inconvenient truth I am afraid.

    12. More of a convenient omission.
      You take gossip about Jeffrey John at face value but gossip about anyone else with a pinch of salt.
      "Structural" injustice?
      If life for you in the Church in Wales has been so unbearably tough why don't you and Jeffrey John go off and form your own little gay Church and leave us 'homophobes' to revel in our ignorance and rot in hell?
      While you're at it you could take the MAE and WATCH covens with you and all scoff from a distance at the ignorant prehistoric Landavian sinners whilst simultaneously enjoying your own self-righteous sodomite/lesbian/wicca lifestyle choices.
      Sounds like a win win to me.

    13. Sounds like the kind of dissimulation the Bishops denounce in their letter and it ill behoves you to use such a tone towards me, Dumbledore. I would not say life has been in any way unbearably tough but it has been, at times, unjust. Injustice, however, is something we must fight and not walk away from.

      I have not gossiped about anyone - I have bean very careful not to do that.

      As for heading off to form some 'little gay Church', no thank you - I'll continue to worship at the Cathedral if you don't mind.

      In addition, I've no intention of scoffing at anyone. That said, I will call out institutional homophobia where I perceive it to be taking place whilst recognising that each one of us are caught up in the structural injustices/sins that hold the church back from being coterminous with the Kingdom of God.

    14. I would be interested to know whether Jeffrey John himself reads this blog and, if so, what he thinks about it all.

  7. Llandaff needs a woman18 March 2017 at 08:05

    "Every member of the electoral college voted for him".
    Clearly not.
    Another Teddy bear flung out of the gay pram.
    Because Barry Morgan told you how to vote and he didn't get his way then either would you like to re-run the Brexit referendum too?
    Get over it.
    Or move to St. Albans and take your childish squealing temper tantrum with you.

  8. All leaks are gossip.
    You have previously condemned the gossip on The Green but you praise this gossip.
    Welcome to the Hypocrites Club.
    Let me buy you a rum pansy.

  9. Scapegoat. Why do you presume that JJ's name might not be on the shortlist because he is gay. There may be a number of other reasons for this decision if it is indeed true.

    1. Let's hope it's not his age! There are employment laws covering that kind of discrimination too.

      It can't be his theological intellect can it? Its inspiration sermons? His published academic works? Or perhaps it it could be - might some be threatened to appoint a bishop whose doctorate was earned through the writing of a thesis?

  10. I don't feel at all intemperate and, as I have written, I have no idea if the reporting of this is fake or correct. I also have not said that "every member of the electoral college" voted for JJ - I stated that every Llandaff member of the EC supported JJ as their candidate for Bishop.

    What I sense within me is indignation and not temper, if it proves to be correct. Phrases like "another Teddy bear flung out of the gay pram" are childish and add nothing to this debate and if you have read my entry as a "squealing temper tantrum" then can I gently correct you and state clearly that I am not squealing nor am I intemperate about this - outraged, yes, but not childish I would hope.

    I also don't have a clue what a rum pansy is and I am not part of any gay conspiracy to get JJ elected. Actually, I wish I were not gay because I would hope that I would still hold the views I have expressed above and that you might then accept them not as the words of someone who has something to gain here or an axe to grind, but as words of indignation and a call for there to be coherence between episcopal letters that say one thing and actions (if they are correct, and we don't know that they are) that say another.

    I also appreciate AB posting what I have written - I know that AB and I disagree on many things - but I suspect that s/he too will see the same incoherence here: writing/saying one thing and (possibly) doing another.

    Finally, I think there is possibly a difference between the 'gossip of the Green' and something printed in a national christian news website and as I say, I want this particular leak to be fake because the implications of it being the truth are devastating.

    Thank you AB

    1. And of course you'd believe and accept such scuttlebut at face value if it appeared in a national news website, say Breitbart?

  11. Re:Scapegoat

    Dr John could not secure the two-third's majority of the electoral college whether or not all the Llandavians voted for him or not. The weakness of your argument is that what you are suggesting is that the non-Llandavians on the college should not have a voice if 100% of the home diocese agree. Is that really what you think, because that would be disastrous for the fragile unity that there is in CiW.

    I think a candidate who, after three days of deliberation, could not carry the constituted will of the electoral college, should not then be appointed by the Bench (on the premise that previous candidates need not re-apply). Also the shameful intervention of politicians trying to interfere meant more pressure not to appoint Dr John by the Bench imho.

    Dr John is a fine speaker and is super-bright, but he is a divisive figure and is not a good appointment for the whole of the CiW. Some of his rejection is rooted in prejudice clearly, but he would use his enthronement to pursue this unedifying campaign around gay marriage instead of mission and growth.

    As the prime Minister said on another issue in the news, "This is not the time."

    Finally, if this leak is true, the elector(s) who are breaking the sacred confidentiality of the Electoral-college need to be identified and politely asked to resign his/her/their position(s).

    1. Cheering for the Holy Ghost18 March 2017 at 09:59

      The latest leak cannot have been from the Electoral College.
      The only meeting this week was between the five Bishops.
      A very limited shortlist of potential leakers.
      The smart money on The Green says Barry Morgan leaked this story to Christian Today as he becomes increasingly desperate to get his preferred heir and successor appointed.

    2. @whamab. I hardly see a mention of the probable real reason that JJ is not suitable ; and that is, as you say, the "unedifying campaign around gay marriage".
      Use of the sacrament of marriage for gay weddings is wrong.
      Jeffrey John promotes this, making him doctrinally unstable.

    3. How could leak be Morgan? He hasn't seen the letter.

    4. Subversive Canon19 March 2017 at 20:04

      Oh come on Stan, how gullible are you?
      Every Bishop on the bench in Wales 'owes' Barry something or he's got some dirt on them. At least one of them would be on the phone to him morning, noon and night but my money would be on Joanna since I hear she approves of everything gay and lesbian and she owes her recent promotion to His --Darkness.

  12. @Whamab

    Thank you for your considered response. It means much to me that your response is thoughtful and invites discussion and debate. Thank you.

    I entirely see where you are coming from. I don't however think I am suggesting that non-Llandavians should not have a voice. What I am suggesting, however, is that the degree of support for Dr John at the electoral college (58%) is itself significant and deserves to be taken seriously as the considered will of a considerable number of people. I would therefore find it incredulous if Dr John were not shortlisted.

    The current bench of bishops hardly know Dr John as a person and so surely they owe him the courtesy of meeting with him and interviewing him alongside other candidates. I believe that some of the bishops claim to know Jeffrey, but in reality they don't - they may have known him fleetingly during their undergraduate days, but that does not constitute knowing him at all, does it? I fear that if Dr John is not short-listed it will be on the grounds that those responsible for the short-list have discounted him because of a fear that he will be divisive when in reality those who know him and work with him find him an inspirational person to work with. Do Dr John the justice of allowing him to speak for himself rather than allowing the press or others (myself included!) presume to speak for him.

    Jeffrey carried the constituted will of 6 out of 10 of the electors. I wonder, are there candidates on the short list who carried less than that when discussed at the EC meeting? I don't know, I simply raise the question, but if there are then following your logic, should they not be banished from the same list also? I realise that is conjecture on my part but perhaps it’s a useful question to consider.

    You say that Dr John is a divisive figure and that he would use his enthronement to pursue an unedifying campaign about gay marriage. Don't you see that that is precisely what the Bishops call out as homophobic in their address to LGBT Christians when they bravely use the term "dissimulation" in recognition of the way that we can be treated in church debates. You misrepresent Dr John when you maintain that he will use his episcopacy in this way. But that is the kind of institutional homophobia the Bishops name - LGBT peoples are subject to misrepresentation, subterfuge, posturing, hypocrisy and double-dealing. I can assure you that Dr John would not use his enthronement for the purpose you suggest, but that you can presume this is evidence of the dissimulation the bishops so clearly denounce. We have enough evidence to conclude that Dr John behaves with dignity whenever his name is put forward within these appointment processes and that he only has one weakness that might mark him our as divisive - he has an inability to be dishonest. In my book, that makes him an excellent candidate for bishop and a person worth listening to in any enthronement sermon.

    Finally, if this is not the time, then when? and as for breaking "sacred confidentiality" I think there comes a time when individuals find that they simple have to act with prophetic conscience; there is nothing scared about a confidentiality that means colluding with structures of profound injustice.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Thank you for the kind words and the tone of your reply Scapegoat. I want to assure you, although it is probably clear I do not support gay marriage, when I say unedifying I do not mean it in a homophobic way. Maybe this is some of the problem, when we defend our sincerely held faith views that don't support LGBT we are called homophobic. I don't see that the bishops were saying that at all since they affirmed a position of not blessing gay marriage in the same statement.

      What I do mean by unedifying is that the division that his appointment would cause, while maybe not being his fault, would be there nonetheless. I did listen to his sermon on Luke 7 online and was impressed by his oratory but thought his exegesis was more akin to eisegesis (reading into the text). All I can say is that if my criticism of Dr John is unfair then may the Spirit prick my conscience but I just want an end to these endless campaigns on social justice issues and a refocusing on the Gospel and outreach.

      On the point of confidentiality, I would agree if they then were up-front and declared their breaking of the confidence of the College for the reasons you give. In remaining anonymous no moral high ground can be taken or claimed.

      In closing, I would not support any candidate who was discussed (and rejected) at the original electoral college or that would certainly be double-speak on my part.

      Thanks for the considered, passionate and interesting reply.

  13. I think we are both equally passionate and, in the last analysis, probably equally so about the same thing - that the world might know the extent of God's love towards us.

    When you say that you "want an end to these endless campaigns on social justice issues and a refocusing on the Gospel and outreach", I know where you are coming from - me too. However, I am not sure the world will be able to hear the Gospel we wish to preach until issues of social justice have been resolved within the life of the church. The world sees our treatment of gay people (sadly focussed in how Dr John is discussed) and they want nothing to do with us (similarly the treatment of women).

    I take great inspiration from the fact that when Jesus "preached" the Gospel in the temple, it was a passage of social justice he chose as the basis of his message of liberation theology: justice for the marginalised, good news for the dissimulated against and riches for the poor (Luke 4). I don't believe there is in fact a Gospel to be preached without reference to social justice.

    Ruth will disagree - she sees argument like that as clever sophistry. I suspect Ruth might well have come out of the temple - had she been there in Jesus' day - and denounced his message as sophistry and protestation also.

    We've a long way to go.

    1. If Jesus preached "liberation theology" the first century oppressors were Rome....where does Jesus condemn these oppressors?
      You are selective in which bits of Jesus message you like. Jesus also told us not a dot or iota would be taken from the law...that is the Torah which condemned gay sex.
      Ultimately though this is not an issue of your rights or my rights. We don't agree as Christians. Many of us believe the Bible repeatedly condemns gay sex while teaching marriage as male to female. Others don't accept that interpretation.
      This issue will split the Church.
      It's all very sad.
      As Anglicans we have never had open discussions about all this. We've simply gone from 0 to 90.
      An actively gay bishop will be divisive if many in the pew won't accept him.
      Also, let's not forget that JJ is Barry Morgans candidate, when he should have retired gracefully.

    2. @Danny

      In answer to many of your questions, can I recommend Fernado Belo's Materialist Reading of the Gospel of Mark. Belo addresses most cogently Jesus' condemnation of Roman oppression.

      I suspect I am no more selective in my reading of Jesus' message than every other christian. I must admit, much of my understanding of Jesus' message does get filtered through a political hermeneutic of scriptures, but then Jesus himself was crucified as an enemy of state. I doubt we can avoid such interpretation.

      As I say, I can recommend reading Belo alongside your own close exegesis of the Gospels.

  14. JJ is, as I understand it, the unanimous candidate of all those representing Llandaff on the Electrical College. Archbishop Barry has nothing to do with the process and it is fanciful to think that he can (or even wishes to) pull strings. Give the electors of Llandaff due credit in being courageous enough to put Dr. John's name forward and in so doing not only thereby endorsing an excellent theologian and priest but also righting the wrongs of structural injustice towards him since Archbishop Rowan scapegoated him and asked him to step down from his appointment to Reading.

    1. Barry have nothing to do with the process? Fanciful?
      If so, was it merely co-incidence Morgan was seen wining and dining Jeffery John in the country club a mere two weeks before the Electoral College?
      Morgan has been a control freak for decades so are you really so naiive to think he would or could let go now?
      Do you really think the rest of us are so naiive as to believe it?
      Why wasn't Morgan seen wining and dining all the other potential candidates, including the other homosexuals considered - and rejected - by the Electoral College?
      It would be fanciful to believe Morgan had nothing to do with the process.
      Pull the other one. The gullible pew-sitters left Llandaff long ago.

  15. On another completely unrelated matter, could the new Bishop please get rid of that hideous Epstein monstrosity in the Cathedral? Surely there is some warehouse somewhere that would accommodate it?

    1. I disagree here. I think the Majestas is awe inspiring and brings visitors to the Cathedral. It is nice just to sit quietly and gaze at it while waiting for the service to begin.

  16. The Letter from the Bench of Bishops to Dr. Jeffrey John explaining why they are Inviting him to be on the shortlist for Llandaff.


    Dear Dr John, our dear brother in Christ,

    We recognise that you have often been persecuted and ostracised by the Church for your sexuality, that you have been mistreated by the Church, and forced into secrecy and dissimulation by the attitudes of prejudice which you have faced, ever since the Reading vacancy. We deplore such hostility, and welcome and affirm the words of the Primates that condemn homophobic prejudice and violence. We too commit ourselves to offering you the same loving service and pastoral care to which all humanity is entitled, and we commit ourselves to acting to provide a safe space within the Church and within our communities in which you can be honest and open, respected and affirmed (accepting that honesty is something you prize heavily). We repeat, we deplore the hostility and dissimulation you have faced in the past whenever the church has discussed God's apparent call upon your life to be a chief shepherd of his flock. We deplore that wholeheartedly.

    While as a Church we are unable to bless the committed partnership you have formed in Civil partnership with Grant, we nevertheless commit ourselves as bishops to work for a Church in which you can be fully affirmed as equal disciples of Jesus Christ or seekers after truth.

    In the light of this, we met as a bench of bishops last week and given that we deplore the hostility you have personally faced because of your sexuality, we wish to demonstrate that, we will do more than just pray with you and for you - that together we may seek God’s blessing on our lives, and for faithful discipleship - as bishops, we know that prayer is empty rhetoric unless it is matched with faithful action and therefore we are delighted to inform you that you have been selected to appear on our list of shortlisted candidates for the Llandaff episcopacy; it’s assimilation we stand for not the deplorable dissimulation we denounced as deplorable after the same-sex marriage debate.

    Dr. John, as bishops we know you that you have been dissimulated from such consideration for far too long and purely on the grounds your sexuality. We deplore this and in working for a church in which you can be a faithful and equal disciple, we believe that now is the time for courageous assimilation and therefore wish to discern God’s call on your life in the context of the episcopal vacancy at Llandaff.

    We look forward to meeting you properly as we’re aware that none of us know you personally. Therefore please come and talk with us and pray with us that together we may seek God’s blessing on your life and the life of the Church in Wales and move forward in faithful discipleship.

    With warm regard as our dear brother in Christ and good wishes to Grant.

    The Bishops

    1. Somewhat premature for All Fools Day Scapegoat.

    2. What a simpering letter! For many people, it is not Dr.John's sexuality that is the main problem. Rather it his espousal of same-sex marriage and his willingness to overturn church teaching in the interests of a false sense of equality. If the Bishops insist on pursuing this line, then schism is inevitable. There will be many people who cannot and will not accept that marriage can be anything other than the union of one man and one woman - and it is definitely not an expression of homophobia to state this view. That reaction is another example of exploitation of the victim status which has brought the C in W to the pitiful shadow of what it once was. A recent newspaper commentator has observed that "faiths which adjust doctrine to accommodate changes in public opinion inevitably lose support." Take care bishops! The future of the C in W is in your hands at what is a perilous and unpredictable time.


    3. It seems someone might have learned from "Llandaff Pewster" how to get things done around here.

      Is that truly genuine?

      Could they really have been so stupid as to put that guff in writing?

      What else might they have put in writing?

      In the interests of fair play (which no doubt Scapegoat will applaud without hesitation), all correspondence to all potential candidates should now be published openly.

      Or will it only be Barry's chosen gay candidate that will benefit from such media exposure and publicity?

    4. @Scapegoat
      I call bullshit.

  17. Bishops Letter ... forgot the PS


    PS. We also need you on the Bench because we keep hearing mention of these 'rum pansies' and have no idea what they are. They sound rather good and we're hoping you will be able to enlighten us and perhaps brighten up our bench meeting with a rum pansy or two.

    1. I wonder what other short-listed candidates make of this - if there are any! The letter, which is hardy balanced in its content as it goes "over the top" in its approach, suggests that the bishops are becoming almost sycophantic. Other candidates should be concerned that so much publicity is being given to one applicant. This does not give the appearance of a dispassionate and impartial exercise.


  18. To be quite honest, it’s a good thing that the net for this vacancy has been cast wider. The limited choice that seems to have ultimately been presented to the E.C. was, let’s face it, absurd, in the extreme (if the reporting is to be believed). I must be one of many who can only wonder that the situation ever got to such a pretty pass in the first place. Breath-taking, when you consider the enormous talent that is out here among us.

  19. Having followed the threads, I have been hesitant to comment. I met JJ over 20 years ago when he came to our parish to preach. He was (and I presume still is) charming, a delightful priest who went out of his way to help me when I was the subject to a fairly frontal attack for no obvious reason which occurred when he was visiting; and who then went more than an extra mile to come back to the parish and help me out again on another issue. I therefore have a residual and long-standing admiration for JJ, even if I do not agree with everything he has said and done since our encounters and I have not seen him since that time.

    I am more than dismayed by his letter published in the most recent press link, as unfortunately it appears to display a 'reverse Sheffield' syndrome. +Philip North was duly selected but then forced out; JJ was rejected - and although I have no reason to doubt what he writes - he now appears to be calling into disrepute the bench of bishops he aspired to join in order to force his way in. The difference appears to me that +Philip North was and is more than happy to abide by the collegiality of the Bench which he already belongs to, and accept and work with his colleagues of all genders. However depending on what happened at the Electoral College in Llandaff - which only those present can know - JJ appears to be displaying a breach of point 5 on page 3 of the Provincial Perspective document published on the CiW site in relation to the appointment process for Llandaff:

    "In a church that sets great store by collaborative ministry, collaboration as well as collegiality should be reflected in the way the Bench of Bishops works. The ‘lone ranger’ model is not a good pattern, and it risks fragmentation and inconsistency of approach."

    That statement is not a source of joy for anybody outside of the current CiW Bench 'comfort zone'. But it does state fairly clearly what candidate profiles will not be acceptable to the rest of the Bench and the hierarchy.

    Unfortunately it looks like JJ has written now in angry haste and will no doubt be left to repent in leisure for breaching this guideline. His real problem is that, rightly or wrongly, he has come to be seen as a single-issue priest. In seeking to promote his cause his supporters have failed, repeatedly, to bring to the fore his merits and have ended up adding to the weight of the rod for his back.

  20. To the tune of the Camptown Races

    Ol' Jeffrey's in a queeny huff
    Doo-da, doo-da,
    'Cos he's a dean but it ain't enough
    Oh the doo-da day.

    He didn't get a bishop's cope
    Doo-da, doo-da
    Because he didn't win the vote
    Oh the doo-da day.

    Down the County Club
    He dined his chance away
    He bet his money on the Llandaff job
    But they didn't want a gay!

  21. Now the ordure has really hit the fan and one suspects Welsh episcopal backsides will be twitching tonight over possible legal action.
    "A gay clergyman has accused the Anglican Church in Wales of homophobia after he was rejected for a job as a bishop."

  22. Somewhat Perturbed19 March 2017 at 20:32

    Dear Ancient Briton,
    have you seen this letter from JJ to the Bishop of Swansea & Brecon?

    1. Thank you SP and Episkopos. [Readers may wish to read the Postscripts to the above entry for further information.]
      It is interesting to note that "hundreds from the diocese and beyond" wrote to support Dr John's candidature suggesting an organised campaign. Comments suggest that they are a vocal minority.

    2. Moving Elsewhere19 March 2017 at 22:03

      It's rather informative that Jeffrey John seems to have published his letter online but not the "private and confidential" letter from John Davies to which he is replying that he does not "intend to treat as private and confidential".
      I wonder when we shall have sight of that?
      I bet a copy will arrive first thing tomorrow morning on the desk of Jeffrey John's lawyer.
      I'd also bet Peter Tatchell and his rent-a-mob will be at the West door of Llandaff Cathedral next Sunday morning.
      My family and I shall certainly be worshipping elsewhere from now on.

    3. One begins to suspect that the Dioceses of Swansea & Brecon & St. Asaph will be hosting Electoral Colleges before too long.

  23. So the bishops were just 'too exhausted' to act on their promise to create a place of equal discipleship for lesbian and gay people in the church. They excluded Dr. John from their short-list purely on the basis of his sexuality. The letters they have written to their "Dear brothers and sisters" who are gay are clearly not worth the paper they were written on. They are indeed fake and the bishops ought to hang their mitres in absolute shame.

    Too tired to seek justice - too tired. They promised they would be tireless in their prayer and action to ensure that LGBT were affirmed and given an "open, honest, respected and affirmed" place in the Church. They were too tired to do that - old, grey, scared and too tired. What utter abrogation of their calling to seek justice and pursue it.

    Having read Dr. John's letter to S+B, I too admire those who were not willing to conspire with the kind of ecclesiastical secrecy that allows structural injustice and prejudice to flourish and if I hear of anybody hounded for sharing their concern, I will be incensed. I have said all along - there is nothing sacred about a silence that conceals wrongdoing and the dissimulation of those the Bench promised to protect.

    Hang your mitres in shame and seek justice. Too tired, too exhausted to do that? Then you're too tired full stop. Hang up your mitres and give Dr. John the job.

    1. "To act on their promise to create a place of equal discipleship for lesbian and gay people in the church."

      You should consider the latest edition of 'The Bell'
      (you'll find it at in which you will see on page 21 a photograph titled "With the Dean and Cathedral staff".
      Apart from the fact that the entire Music Department staff have been omitted from the photo call (so the name of the photograph is itself a lie and reveals the low esteem in which the entire Music Department are held in Llandaff nowadays), to my certain knowledge but without naming names (Ancient Briton PLEASE do NOT exercise censorship on this post) AT LEAST THREE of the eleven in the frame with Barry Morgan are homosexual. There may be more.
      So that's at least 27%!
      Not 1.7% but at least 27%!
      Already a gross over representation wouldn't you agree?
      Will you be satisfied only when Llandaff is 100% homosexual?

      Don't think it has not gone unnoticed that you continue to ignore other gay candidates who also fell at the first hurdle.

    2. Is Scapegoat one of the trinity?

    3. Where it is 1.7 or 97.7, it's irrelevant. That you use terms like "gross over representation" suggests that, for you, 1 would be 1 too many. That's precisely why Dr. John finds himself dissimulated and disenfranchised: the Church does not want our kind and whatever their pastoral rhetoric, the Bishops have also just demonstrated that. They're too tired to provide the safe, affirmed, respected, honest and open place for us that they had promised.

      I say "Bishops" in the plural, but from Dr. John's letter, it's clear that one bishop at least had the conviction to break oath and reveal the lack of moral and legal foundation for the way in which Dr. John was discussed. Well done him/her (I suspect the former).

      It is probably a good job that Cathedral Rd had the sense to have a lawyer present, it's just a shame that his expertise is clearly not equal opportunities or employment law.

      What a mess.

  24. John's tireless self-promotion, wailing and victimhood prove that he should never have been considered in the first place. Clearly he places his own sexuality far above any other qualifications.

    Stand firm, Welsh bishops, and shut the door on him.

    1. Self promotion indeed.
      No time wasted in updating his Wikipedia page.

      "Consideration for diocesan Sees
      At the end of August 2008, speculation began that John was one of the nominees for the post of Bishop of Bangor in Wales. A series of media reports in August and September 2008[7] added weight to the story, which drew strong negative reactions from conservative commentators from within the Church of England and in other conservative quarters.
      July 2010 saw widespread media reports that John was the Crown Nomination Commission's preferred candidate for appointment as Bishop of Southwark in succession to Tom Butler. These reports again attracted wide comment, both in support and in opposition. Subsequent reports suggested that his name had been removed from the list of potential appointees following leaking of the proposal.
      He was also reportedly on the shortlists to be appointed Bishop of Exeter in 2013 and Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich in 2014.
      In 2017, John was again almost elected as a bishop diocesan, this time as Bishop of Llandaff. His candidacy was reportedly supported by a majority of the electors, but not the required supermajority. When no candidate reached that level of support within the required time-frame, the right to elect lapsed to the House of Bishops of the Church in Wales, who announced that no previous candidate would be considered again. Replying to a letter from John Davies (Bishop of Swansea and Brecon), acting Archbishop of Wales, John made a public response exposing the Church's homophobia throughout the process."

  25. I think Jeffrey's letter shows that he is not intending to be a Bishop at any cost, unlike other bishops who have sat on that bench concealing the fact that they are gay.

    It also shows that he has a spine, is true to his calling, is honest, has self-respect and speaks out for justice. His argument is about the homophobic way in which he has been treated and arbitrary and roughshod manner in which the Bench have trod over the wishes of the Diocese.

    This is not the Bishops standing firm, it's them being too tired to have the courage to seek justice. Furthermore, it's not Jeffrey who will come across as the victim in all of this - you watch, some letter from the Bench will appear over the coming days, starting with "Dear brothers and sisters in Christ" in which they exonerate their unjust actions and look to blame those who had the courage to speak out.

    Stand firm, Welsh Bishops, and show courage and faithful discipleship - do away with disingenuous oaths of confidentiality or your letters of episcopal privacy - open the door, and let justice in!

    1. True to his calling and honest
      I wonder if you - and he - have both forgotten that before he went to St. Stephen's House he was openly critical of it and the gay goings on there.

    2. Premature Exasperation20 March 2017 at 00:46

      If anything, John's hasty and intemperate reply deliberately published online serves only to confirm his unsuitability for the vocation of Bishop, particularly in Llandaff at this moment in time.
      As a sage chum of mine oft reminds me, never respond in haste or anger. By all means write a reply but above all do NOT press 'send'.
      It's why God invented the folder called 'Drafts'.
      If John is intending to refer. the matter to his solicitor then he should have kept his powder dry.

  26. Whatever one's views on Jeffrey John, homosexuality and the rest, this whole sorry business reveals the CinW bishops' hypocrisy and utter spinelessness. They undertook to accept homosexuals on equal terms with heterosexuals (how many weeks since the launch of that pathetic little video?), yet are refusing to have the courage of their declared convictions by accepting a known (NB) homosexual into their privileged number -- just as their many assurances about the honoured and valued place of those who hold traditionalist views on the ordained ministry have been proved completely worthless. What good, I wonder, can come from this debacle? Any ideas?

    1. There was something very peculiar going on at the Llandaff Electoral College from the outset.
      Jeffrey John writes "I am aware that you began proceedings at the Electoral College with a statement that neither homosexuality nor a civil partnership were a bar to any candidate's eligibility."

      Why was there a need for any such statement to be prepared and read out?
      Was the same statement read out at the St. David's Electoral College?
      If not, why not?

  27. @Matthew
    What good can come? Mass resignations. The google drive letter from Jeffrey John is obviously the case for the prosecution at the upcoming employment tribunal. Open and shut claim of discrimination. What's their defence? "M'lud I was too tired"
    The question for me is how long can +John stay in his job. End of today? End of week?

  28. Subversive Canon20 March 2017 at 12:22

    I can't help thinking that Jeffrey John has more interest in a ££££££s compensation payment from the Church in Wales (to top up his pension pot) than the see of Llandaff.

    Even if John Davies and Gregory Cameron resign or retire with indecent haste they still might find themselves held personally liable for the remarks they are alleged to have made.

    If indeed HHJ Philip Price was present at the Electoral College as a "moderator" it would appear he was remarkably ineffective.

    If the Chairman of the Representative Body or the Provincial Secretary were also present and equally ineffective perhaps they too should be tendering resignations.

  29. Parishioner from Llandaff20 March 2017 at 14:02

    "Threats in your letter"
    "Not moral or legal"
    "Extraordinary, unprecedented and foolish"

    Dear ancient Briton
    I'm struggling to publish this so sorry if you received twice

    All of these are words from the letter. Jeffrey John "threatened" by bishop John of Swansea. No one who applied for a job as bishop of my diocese can be treated this way. Many of us didn't want Jeffrey John but this Is disgusting. Bishop John has no support or confidence from anyone I spoke to.

    We are very grateful to Jeffrey John for publishing this letter for us all to see, I'dbe very grateful if he would publish the letter he received too so we can read it.

    In the meantime, bishop John and whichever are the "two bishops" have no choice but to resign. None at all.

    1. People don't "apply for a job as a Bishop". Perhaps that needs to start happening. It is supposed the be the Holy Spirit prompting the electoral college (ha ha ha ha ha ha in this case)
      I suspect the bench were reacting to a possible stitch up by retired Archbishop Barry, and his favs who serve on the electoral college.......
      Anyhow, when did the average person in the pew, ever get their point of view heard on gay marriage? Thousand of years of tradition can't be brushed aside because the current bench have decided??? You have said "many of us didn't want JJ" and that is true, many would have left had he been appointed, yet their "rights" are not considered.

  30. The letter from +Swansea to JJ was published on the Twitter account of the journalist who broke the story. It can be read on this link:

    The full letter from JJ to +Swansea can be read here

    When you compare the two letters, the reply would be disproportionate if breaches of confidentiality had not been made, including the famous 'phone call.

    JJ has called for "an open and honest examination of this [electoral] process in the light of day,". The first points that ought to be reiterated are a) the process is confidential, and breach of confidence is a very serious matter indeed, b)the process always clearly stated that a 2/3 majority of the College is required, not a simple majority, and c) the Provincial perspective document published at the outset of the process, and presumably approved by the whole Bench of Bishops, clearly states that "lone ranger" bishops are not welcome in Wales. That final point also should apply to whoever broke the confidence of the College.

    The 2/3 majority is standard in British Anglican circles, notably for instance, for votes on major substantive issues in the CofE General Synod. Moving the goalposts to get the result one group requires is not permitted: 'end of'.

    As to "unchallenged homophobic remarks": it is difficult to know from the outside what these may have been. However if the 2 bishops who spoke against JJ said something along the lines of, "we need to put our own house in order first [given the state of the CiW] and the last thing we need is a gay bishop furore", that is not necessarily "homophobic", just realistic and prioritizing where the CiW limited resources need to be directed. I am conscious that this is speculation on my part, but I would hope that perhaps the comments were no more than this in essence.

    1. Thank you very much Alan2, especially for the link to John Davies' letter to Jeffrey John.
      Prior to reading it I had considerable concerns that John Davies might have dropped an absolute clanger. Having read his letter three times, I have to admit that I see nothing in it that is inappropriate.
      I also have to question Jeffrey John's judgement.
      In his reply to John Davies he writes "In face of the kind threats that you make in your letter, ......".
      I can see no evidence of "threats" in John Davies' letter.
      On the contrary, the letter seems only polite and entirely Christian.
      I am of course assuming the letter I have read is the letter to which Jeffrey John has replied.
      Continuing to assume this is the case, all Jeffrey John has succeeded in doing is confirming he remains entirely unfit for the job of Bishop and particularly unsuited to the needs of the Diocese of Llandaff at this particular time given the complete shambles left behind by the Arch Ineptitude Morgan.

    2. All this concern over Jeffrey John is most touching.
      But where was all the concern when our Catholic curate Ceirion Gilbert went inexplicably missing after just 4 months in his job at Llandaff Cathedral?

      Now that a Bishop has broken confidences and gone 'rogue', it would be entirely appropriate for someone to break ranks and tell those of us who were - and are - concerned for his welfare, what happened to poor Cerion?

      While we're about it, let's hear what really happened to Janet Henderson too.

      Since Jeffrey John is calling publicly for "an open and honest examination of this process in the light of day", why not take the opportunity to cast the light of day into a few other corners at the same time?

    3. Hear hear Ruth.
      Throw open the heavy curtains, let the light so shine before men that we can see into all Morgan's murky dirty corners.
      It's time for a damn fine splendid Spring clean.

    4. @Cymru'r Groes,

      I agree entirely with you. JJ's letter to +Swansea is actually all based on what he has been told, and hardly at all on what +Swansea wrote. At a guess it was not just the rogue bishop who 'phoned JJ for a gossip, so he probably received varying versions of what was said and done.

      The amazing thing when you think about it is that the St David's electoral college took a day, there were no leaks, and ++Barry just steam-rollered / rubber-stamped his candidate through the process. It actually shows very visibly just how much he was the arch puppet master during his primacy.

    5. What would Jesus say?20 March 2017 at 21:41

      @Ruth and Esther.
      Ladies, well said.
      Isn't it curious 'Scapegoat' was nowhere to be seen or heard at that time.
      Ceirion wasn't the celebrity that Jeffrey John is in the pink £ club.

    6. What do you find curious? What are you suggesting? What is significant about the timing?

  31. A week is a long time in ecclesiastical politics!

    The meeting of the Electoral College for the next Bishop of Llandaff was confidential and the Church in Wales will not comment on speculation about the nomination and discussion of candidates. However, we strongly deny allegations of homophobia in the process. Neither homosexuality nor participation in a civil partnership are a bar to any candidate being either nominated or elected as a Bishop in the Church in Wales. Moreover, this was made clear to members of the Electoral College by its President, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon.

  33. Somewhat Perturbed24 March 2017 at 21:12

    Bishop David Wilbourne is stepping down on Easter Sunday: