Senior gay cleric Jeffrey John shortlisted to be bishop

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A senior gay cleric in the Church of England is shortlisted to be a bishop of Brechin in the Scottish Episcopal Church. Another gay cleric is also listed as a candidate to be bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane.

Christianity Today reports,

Jeffrey John, dean of St Albans Cathedral, has been shortlisted as one of four possible candidates to be bishop of Brechin, in the Scottish Anglican church. Dr John has been passed over after having been shortlisted seven times over his career, with allegations that homophobia was behind some of the rejections.

The Scottish Episcopal Church changed its laws on marriage last year to allow same-sex couples to marry in church and allow gay priests to get married as well.

In a sign of its shift in stance since then, as well as John another gay cleric, Chris Newlands, vicar at Lancaster Priory, is also listed as a candidate to be bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane.

The candidates for both dioceses will go before an electoral body made up of local clergy and churchgoers on May 26, before a decision is made on June 2.

For the full slates see Thinking Anglicans. See also the comments there.

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Fr. Will McQueen
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Fr. Will McQueen

So are these open positions to be Diocesan bishop or assisting?

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Daniel Lamont
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Daniel Lamont

These are for the Diocesan Bishop. The SEC is both too small and too poor to afford more than one bishop per diocese so there are neither Suffragan or Assistant Bishops. If need be, a bishop from another diocese stands in - there are only seven dioceses. The process is that a small preparatory committee meets to produce nominations and the electoral body is much wider. These are a very strong pair of short-lists.

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

In addition to your helpful note, it is also true that Brechin is one of the smallest of the 7 dioceses, based in Dundee. St Andrews, Dunkeld, Dunblane extends into Angus to the west of Dundee. When I lived in St Andrews the incumbent was a retired military man, who was in turn followed by Chillingworth. None of these posts can afford to pay very much by TEC standards.

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

What an odd response. I don't think people outside the SEC understand how fragile and small an operation it is, sometimes with ancient boundaries that over time have resulted in places like Brechin -- the smallest diocese in SEC. Salaries for Bishops in TEC may average 200,000, and in most other places in the AC, including the SEC, a tiny fraction of that. That is hardly a criticism of the SEC -- unless one believes being a bishop means a big financial package. The EDOD has 20 times the admin staff as dioceses in the SEC.

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Fr. Will McQueen
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Fr. Will McQueen

So apparently John and Newlands are perfectly acceptable candidates to be a Diocesan bishop but Philip North is an unacceptable candidate and forced to withdraw his name as Diocesan Bishop of Sheffield. The hypocrisy here is stunning.

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Daniel Lamont
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Daniel Lamont

Father Will, I am afraid there is a category error here. The church under discussion is the Scottish Episcopal Church which.like the TEC, is an entirely separate and autonomous church and the writ of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York does not run in Scotland. I am not aware of Philip North having ever applied for or been considered for a Scottish Bishopric. In fact it has become abundantly clear that Jeffrey John is NOT an acceptable candidate for a bishopric in either the Church of England or the Church in Wales,. It should also be noted that the SEC has ordained women priests for some time and has just consecrated its first woman bishop. There are no opt-outs as there are in the CofE.
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Daniel Lamont
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Daniel Lamont

This is a link to a post by Father Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow, in which he sets out the differences between the SEC and the CofE which friends in the TEC might find informative. https://thurible.net/2017/07/11/the-scottish-episcopal-church-option/

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