Wales could get first gay bishop

There is speculation that the openly homosexual Dean of St Albans, Dr Jeffrey John, could become Britain’s first gay bishop.

Dr John – who is in a civil partnership but says that he is celibate – will reportedly be nominated to fill the vacant See of Bangor, North Wales.

Five years ago, another controversial attempt to make Dr John the Bishop of Reading was blocked by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, after protests from evangelical clergy.

However, the Church in Wales is independent of the Church of England, and so is not subject to Dr Williams’ authority.

In letters revealed earlier this year, Dr Williams expressed his own belief that homosexual unions could be compared to marriage, and acknowledged the influence of Dr John’s writings in forming his views on the issue.

Dr John explained his views on marriage and homosexuality during an interview given in 2003: “The classic way of putting that is that marriage is a reflection of Christ’s marriage to his people or God’s love for Israel.

“The marriage covenant between two people reflects something of the heart of God and the way God relates to us.

“And I believe that the mystery of covenant love actually can work for two people of the same sex just as much as it can work for a married couple.”

This view is vigorously opposed by orthodox Christians who adhere to the Bible’s teaching that homosexual practice is wrong.

The appointment of Dr John to the position of Bishop would be likely to exacerbate current tensions in the Anglican Church over issues of sexuality and biblical orthodoxy.

It is likely that there will be other nominations for the position, and an election will take place in October.