Jeffrey John

From Academic Kids

The Reverend Dr Jeffrey Philip Hywel John, MA DPhil (born 1953) is a Church of England cleric, and the current Dean of St Albans. He made headlines in 2003 when he was the first openly gay person to be nominated to be a Church of England Bishop. Due to the consequent controversy, he was forced to stand down before he took up the bishopric.

He was born in Tonyrefail in South Wales, in 1953, and studied at Hertford College, Oxford, where he gained a first in classics and modern languages in 1975. He subsequently studied theology at St Stephen's House, Oxford.

After a curacy in Penarth, Llandaff, he returned to Oxford in 1980 to read for a doctorate in Pauline theology. He became chaplain at Brasenose College, before in 1984 being appointed dean of divinity at Magdalen College, Oxford.

He is a founder member and a trustee of Affirming Catholicism, a group formed in 1990 promoting catholicism within the Anglican church, and which supported the campaign for the ordination of women.

He was Vicar of Holy Trinity, Eltham, (in the Southwark Diocese) in south London from 1991, and in 1997 he became canon chancellor and theologian of Southwark Cathedral.

On May 20, 2003, his appointment as the new Suffragan Bishop of Reading was announced.

His nomination led to controversy both in the Church of England and in the wider Anglican Communion, due to his involvement in a long-term celibate homosexual relationship. He has for many years been a campaigner for gay rights.

Some conservative, evangelical and traditionalist churches in the United States and Africa were prominent in their threats to split from the Anglican Communion should Jeffrey John's consecration proceed.

Concerns over the potential for division within the church led the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, to request Dr John to step down. On July 6, 2003, he withdrew his appointment to the bishopric.

In spite of the withdrawal of Jeffrey John, the differences in views of homosexuality within the Anglican church continued to cause controversy in 2003 following the appointment of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in the Episcopal church in the USA.

On April 19, 2004, 10 Downing Street announced Dr John's appointment to the Deanery of St Albans. He was invested at a ceremony at the cathedral on July 2, 2004.

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