Parishioners react to speculation gay Bishop may be in line for Durham Cathedral post

The Northern Echo: Jeffrey John Jeffrey John

PARISHIONERS have given a mixed reaction to speculation that Britain's most senior openly gay cleric could be the next Bishop of Durham.

Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, is being tipped for promotion after the Church of England ruled homosexual men in civil partnerships can become bishops, as long as they remain celibate.

He was appointed as the Bishop of Reading in 2003, but was forced to step down amid protests and was also rejected as the candidate for the Bishop of Southwark in 2010.

But the new rules mean his name has now been put forward as a possible replacement for Justin Welby, soon to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Worshipers at Durham Cathedral today (Sunday January 7) were split when told of the news.

Bill Lumsden, 59, from Hawthorn, County Durham, said: “It is private and why should it matter as long as he can do the job right?”

While Sam Armstrong, 20, from Sunderland, said: “In today’s society this sort of thing should not have an impact on whether someone can do a job, whether they are a doctor, lawyer or bishop. I don’t care.”

Dean John has been with his partner, a Church of England hospital chaplain, for nearly 40 years.

They became civil partners in 2006, but he has always maintained that he is celibate.

Sharon Keedy, 47, from South Shields, said: “It goes against all of my traditional values. I would not oppose it, but I do not think it is quite right.”

Bishop Welby’s replacement is not expected to be announced until summer at the earliest.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Durham said: "Justin is still Bishop of Durham until the legal process of his election to Archbishop of Canterbury is confirmed in early February.

“The process for the nomination of a new Bishop of Durham is called the 'vacancy in see' and starts in the diocese and requires The Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) to meet on two occasions per Vacancy in See to nominate candidates for diocesan bishoprics to the Crown.

"We are only at the very start of that process, and any decision is a way off yet."

What do you think? Leave your comments at the foot of this story.

Comments (13)

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8:36pm Sun 6 Jan 13

kitty01 says...

The Bishop of Exeter is retiring as well so perhpas Exeter wil want him as well. Durham better be quick or you'll lose a perfect person for the job.
The Bishop of Exeter is retiring as well so perhpas Exeter wil want him as well. Durham better be quick or you'll lose a perfect person for the job. kitty01

10:30pm Sun 6 Jan 13

BishopQuaker says...

Comments Page Meltdown scheduled for 9am Monday morning
Comments Page Meltdown scheduled for 9am Monday morning BishopQuaker

11:39pm Sun 6 Jan 13

Dean M says...

The County Durham authorities will welcome him.

No lap dancing clubs allowed in the County, smoking banned in open places (even though it is legal), all residents being discouraged from drinking alcohol, police coming down hard on those using only minor drugs like marijuana, heavy taxes on second homes should anyone be daft enough to invest here, and council objections to politically incorrect pub names like 'Dirty Nellies' or 'Scruffy Murphys'.

But we're happy to have MPs imposed on us on account of them being girls (ah, isn't it lovely?) and so we'll be more than happy to have a gay Bishop of Durham too.

The authorities of this County are a bunch of countys. Without the oy.
The County Durham authorities will welcome him. No lap dancing clubs allowed in the County, smoking banned in open places (even though it is legal), all residents being discouraged from drinking alcohol, police coming down hard on those using only minor drugs like marijuana, heavy taxes on second homes should anyone be daft enough to invest here, and council objections to politically incorrect pub names like 'Dirty Nellies' or 'Scruffy Murphys'. But we're happy to have MPs imposed on us on account of them being girls (ah, isn't it lovely?) and so we'll be more than happy to have a gay Bishop of Durham too. The authorities of this County are a bunch of countys. Without the oy. Dean M

12:40am Mon 7 Jan 13

smokin says...

I thought it was just the catholic faith where priests had to be celibate who cares what his private life is as long as he does a good job
I thought it was just the catholic faith where priests had to be celibate who cares what his private life is as long as he does a good job smokin

12:41am Mon 7 Jan 13

smokin says...

I thought it was just the catholic faith where priests had to be celibate who cares what his private life is as long as he does a good job
I thought it was just the catholic faith where priests had to be celibate who cares what his private life is as long as he does a good job smokin

11:00am Mon 7 Jan 13

Voice-of-reality says...

First there was the one who did not believe in the virgin birth, then came the one who activists tried to 'out', then an unwordly academic and finally an oil executive.
Is the chruch of england in the north becoming increasingly like the Labour party - in its belief that 'the people' will just blindly follow it
First there was the one who did not believe in the virgin birth, then came the one who activists tried to 'out', then an unwordly academic and finally an oil executive. Is the chruch of england in the north becoming increasingly like the Labour party - in its belief that 'the people' will just blindly follow it Voice-of-reality

11:20am Mon 7 Jan 13

fracker says...

God loves everyone,all men are created equal except for you,you,and you,if you take notice of some church goers.
God loves everyone,all men are created equal except for you,you,and you,if you take notice of some church goers. fracker

11:20am Mon 7 Jan 13

fracker says...

God loves everyone,all men are created equal except for you,you,and you,if you take notice of some church goers.
God loves everyone,all men are created equal except for you,you,and you,if you take notice of some church goers. fracker

8:22pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Birdyy says...

Splendid.
Splendid. Birdyy

8:27pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Thomas Atkins says...

NO, just no.
NO, just no. Thomas Atkins

11:17pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Lawman3 says...

Religion is pretty much a minority interest these days, so I can't say I care too much what they decide to do.
Religion is pretty much a minority interest these days, so I can't say I care too much what they decide to do. Lawman3

7:21am Tue 8 Jan 13

robbiejay says...

When you look back in history and see some of the monsters that have acted under the auspice of 'religion', the matter of whether the bishop is gay or straight doesn't really matter to me.
When you look back in history and see some of the monsters that have acted under the auspice of 'religion', the matter of whether the bishop is gay or straight doesn't really matter to me. robbiejay

10:37am Tue 8 Jan 13

Ally F says...

Most likely pure unfounded press speculation. Something the C of E PR department need to clarify. Extremely unlikely that the first openly gay Bishop would be appointed to one of highest Sees in the C of E. (4th highest I think after Cantebury, York and London) The last few months have been something of a PR disaster for the C of E, a rejection of Women Bishops and then a somewhat tacet acceptance of Male Gay Bishops provided they are celibate, which has inflamed tensions with the conservates in the wider Anglican Church Communion. Such cack-handed PR sends out confusing and contradictory messages to say the least. The C of E will modernise and will admit Women Bishops, Gay Bishops, etc., it's a matter of 'when' not 'if'... Change in the C of E happens at a glacially slow pace however, as does selecting a Bishop. Speculate away, but we won't be much nearer to knowing who's in line for the job in 6 or 12 months time.
Most likely pure unfounded press speculation. Something the C of E PR department need to clarify. Extremely unlikely that the first openly gay Bishop would be appointed to one of highest Sees in the C of E. (4th highest I think after Cantebury, York and London) The last few months have been something of a PR disaster for the C of E, a rejection of Women Bishops and then a somewhat tacet acceptance of Male Gay Bishops provided they are celibate, which has inflamed tensions with the conservates in the wider Anglican Church Communion. Such cack-handed PR sends out confusing and contradictory messages to say the least. The C of E will modernise and will admit Women Bishops, Gay Bishops, etc., it's a matter of 'when' not 'if'... Change in the C of E happens at a glacially slow pace however, as does selecting a Bishop. Speculate away, but we won't be much nearer to knowing who's in line for the job in 6 or 12 months time. Ally F

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