Church appoints new bishop after rejecting gay man who got majority of votes
The Church of Wales has appointed a new bishop, after rejecting a gay man who applied for the role.
The Very Reverend June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury, will become the new Bishop of Llandaff.
Revd Osborne will be only the second woman appointed as a bishop in Wales.
Her appointment comes despite Dr. Jeffrey John, who is gay, receiving a majority of votes in the selection process.
Dr. John claimed the Anglican church denied him a promotion to Bishop of Llandaff because of his sexuality.
Despite the church previously claiming they had been “satisfied that the Electoral College process was carried out properly and fairly”, it has since been forced to open an investigation into the complaints of homophobia.
Five members of the Church in Wales’ electoral college – its senior body – signed a letter condemning the process, saying there were “deeply inappropriate” references to Dr. Jeffrey John’s homosexuality when considering his nomination, according to Christian Today.
The letter, sent to the Church’s most senior executive Simon Lloyd, said: “We object to the raising at electoral college of the matter of sexuality or civil partnership status, in direct contravention of the Church in Wales’s own policy that sexuality or civil partnership status is not a bar to appointment as a Bishop.
“We consider that this action was deeply inappropriate, and prejudiced the electoral college proceedings so as to render them invalid.”
Dr. John, currently Dean of St Albans, spoke out publicly to condemn his alleged homophobic treatment, saying: “The only arguments adduced against my appointment… were directly related to my homosexuality. This is not a moral or legal basis on which to exclude me.”
There is no ban on gay men becoming bishops, but members of its electoral colleges were reminded of a moratorium on consecrating bishops who are in civil partnerships, which is placed on provinces by the Anglican communion.
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The Assistant Bishop of Llandaff, Rt Revd David Wilbourne, announced his resignation following the latest row, saying he had come under “considerable and increasing pressure to relinquish my post”.
Speaking to the Church Times about his departure, he said: “Ever since I knew that Jeffrey was in the frame for Llandaff, I thought it would speak mountains about our policy of inclusion. Wales has led on that; so I can’t understand why the bishops aren’t of the same mind.
“Whilst I can fully see that the next Bishop of Llandaff deserves the space to be their own person, for the moment I remain upbeat about serving in this thriving diocese, and carrying out the role I was called here and consecrated to fulfill.”
The new bishop, Dean Osborne, said the appointment was a “great privilege”.
“It will be something of a homecoming for the family, particularly because my husband is from Cardiff and it is a place we know and love,” she said.
Dean June will celebrate her final Sunday at Salisbury Cathedral on 9 July.