03 July 2010

And can it be? Jeffrey Johns to be a bishop?

Today's Telegraph is reporting that the Very Rev'd Jeffrey Johns has been nominated to become the Bishop of Southwark. That means that the Most Rev'd Rowan Williams has approved the nomination. Willimas is chair of the Crown Nominations Committee.

The committee is "liberal" but this possible nomination is truly surprising given the recent actions of Williams in retaliation for The Episcopal Church consecrating an openly gay and partnered bishop.
According to today's article,
Promoting him to one of the most senior offices in the Church would trigger a civil war between liberals and conservatives and exacerbate existing divisions within the Anglican Communion.

The appointment of Dr John, who entered a civil partnership with his long term partner the Rev Grant Holmes in 2006, would mark a major victory for the pro-gay lobby in the Church of England, which has been disappointed at the lack of progress under Dr Williams.

Conservatives, on the other hand, would be incensed at the promotion of a cleric who has strongly argued for a more liberal attitude towards sexuality and is in a long-standing, though celibate, homosexual relationship.
Could Rowan have multiple personalities? The whole "mess" just gets stranger and stranger.

UPDATE: From Colin Coward at Changing Attitudes in England
If true, then the implications are huge. The Church of England would gain a bishop of immense intelligence and passion. LGBT Anglicans would gain renewed confidence that the Church of England retains a capacity to be (cautiously) radical, inclusive, broad and generous. It would signal a dramatic change of direction in the Communion. Further resignations by conservative members of the Primates meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Anglican Communion Standing Committee might be expected.
Coward continues:
The balance of power between conservative and radical groups in the Communion might change dramatically given such a huge reversal following the successful campaign by those claiming to be traditional in blocking Jeffrey John’s appointment in 2003. England might at last be able to stand with our Episcopal Church friends in being honest about the numbers of LGBT deacons, priests and lay people (and bishops) who lead exemplary Christian lives in the service of the gospel.
UPDATE 2: Episcopal Cafe has some good information for us.