Poll Shows Equal Division Among Synod

( [email protected] ) Jul 05, 2003 10:00 AM EDT

According to a survey of clergy members taken by the Telegraph, the General Synod of the Church of England is evenly split between the liberals and conservatives over the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John as Bishop of reading, the first openly gay bishop.

"In the Synod's House of Laity we would expect the majority to be against the consecration," said the Rev. Rod Thomas, the spokesman for Reform, the conservative evangelical network. "This shows that if Jeffrey John is consecrated, up to half of the Church will feel gravely affronted and the potential for disruption is huge."

The issue, which threatens a schism in the Church of England and the Worldwide Anglican Communion, calls for an emergency debate during next week's Synod in York.

In the survey of the Synod's 250 House of Clergy members, 119 responded. 50 percent of those who commented backed the consecration while 43 percent opposed it. The remaining 7 percent said they did not know.

But most clergy feel that a debate may bring more damage to the Church's unity in this present situation.