Gay priest now a dean

Published September 1, 2004

Jeffrey John, the openly gay Anglican priest who last year turned down an appointment as a bishop in the Church of England, was installed on July 2 as dean of St. Albans Cathedral, north of London.

His appointment as dean has caused division in the diocese of St. Albans , although it is strongly supported by the diocesan bishop, Christopher Herbert, and the cathedral authorities.

Deans rank immediately below diocesan bishops in the Church of England. They are responsible for overall leadership of cathedral life and worship.

A prominent diocesan official, the chairman of the board of finance, Philip Lovegrove, resigned to protest Mr. John’s appointment. A meeting in June of more than 70 clergy and laity heard of threats to withhold parish financial contributions and to reject the pastoral authority of the bishop.

Mr. John was chosen last year to be suffragan (assistant) bishop of Reading . After a meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Mr. John said he was withdrawing his name in order to preserve church unity.



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