UK Priest Rejects Bishop Post

( [email protected] ) Jul 08, 2003 11:06 PM EDT

After following weeks of arguments in the Anglican Communion, Canon Jeffresy John, who had been appointed as Bishop of Reading by the Diocese of Oxford, has rejected his post. Harsh disputes had taken place for the appointment of the first openly gay bishop.

According to Dr John, his made the decision because of the "damage" his consecration might cause for the "unity of the church". For the past weeks, church leaders around the world had threatened to break off their relationship with the Anglican Church if the ordination took place.

Dr John sent a letter seeking permission of the Crown to withdraw his acceptance of the post, writing his reasons to the Bishop of Oxford.

Dr Rowan Wiliams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, praised Dr John for his "dignity and forbearance" he had shown "often under the most intrusive and distasteful personal scrutiny."

Joel Edwards, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, said: "Our initial thoughts are relief that the decision has gone this way. It is definitely in the interests of the Church."

George Curry, chairman of the Church Society, said: "Obviously we feel for him in this situation, but we are glad that he has seen that one of the most important things is to be a person of integrity."