The Church of England is considering an
openly gay man to be bishop.
The “Mother Church” of the
worldwide Anglican Communion has been critical of U.S. Episcopalians
for ordaining two openly gay bishops.
Dr. Jeffrey John, the Dean of St.
Albans, is among a number of clergy nominated for Bishop of Southwark
to replace the Rev. Dr. Tom Butler, who retired earlier this year,
the BBC reported.
The Queen will eventually decide the
nominee from two choices submitted by Prime Minister David Cameron.
John entered a civil partnership in
2006. But in 2003, his consideration for Bishop of Reading was
reeled back after conservatives railed against his nomination.
Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of
the Anglican Communion and the head of the Church of England, has
failed to mollify either conservatives or liberals on the issue of
The 2003 ordination of V. Gene Robinson
as bishop of New Hampshire created a deep divide between the 77
million-member Anglican Communion and its more liberal American
branch, the Episcopal Church, and led to a self-imposed moratorium on
the election of gay bishops.
Robinson, 63, lives in Weare with his
husband Mark Andrew.
Episcopalians shocked conservatives
when they decided to reverse the moratorium and elected a second
openly gay bishop.
In May, a crowd of over 3,000 lined
into the Long Beach Arena to witness the consecration of the Rev.
Mary D. Glasspool, of Baltimore, as suffragan (assistant) bishop of
the Los Angeles diocese during a three-hour service.
Glasspool, 55, whose nomination was
approved by the majority of the church's bishops and standing
committees in March, has been in a committed relationship with Becki
Sanders for over 22 years.
Conservatives opposed to openly gay
clergy reacted with the formation of a rival church, the Anglican
Church in North America. UK conservatives have warned of a similar
split for the Church of England, if John is made bishop.
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4, Canon
Chris Sugden blasted John's candidacy.
“It is breaking the law of the Church
in the sense of Christian teaching … the teaching still is that
active homosexual practice is not compatible with the teaching of
scripture,” he said.
But supporters say John is well suited
to head the liberal diocese, which ministers heavily to gay and