The head of the Church of England in Jersey – the Dean, the Very Rev John Seaford – said he opposed the appointment of homosexuals into the clergy.’I would not be able to recommend or support the appointment of an openly homosexual priest,’ he said.Mr Seaford spoke in response to the condemnation of the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John as the new Bishop of Reading by Michael Scott-Joynt, the Bishop of Winchester, in whose see Jersey falls.Canon John admits to having been in a relationship with the same man for more than 20 years.The Dean’s position is a clear contradiction of this morning’s statement from Lambeth Palace.
After days of silence, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, called for tolerance and said he would not push for the appointment of Canon John to be revoked.Bishop Michael was one of a group of senior Anglican bishops who wrote a letter last week protesting against the Reading appointment.He said: ‘I greatly regret that this appointment has been made, because I think it is mistaken in principle and puts out discouraging signals to the vast majority of Christian people, whose understanding is that there is a basic position about Christian sexual behaviour, which is for marriage.’There is a picture being painted as if we are some little band of eccentrics and the whole cultural movement of modern times around sexual behaviour is a juggernaut which must run on.
That I don’t believe to be the case.’Mr Seaford said that he supported the Bishop of Winchester not just out of duty and loyalty, but because he agreed with his position.He said that the issue was likely to split the Church in Jersey, as it has divided congregations from York to Kenya, adding that anyone who wanted to was welcome to discuss the matter with him.’Nobody in Jersey has spoken to me about it,’ said Mr Seaford.
‘Nobody has raised it with me so, obviously, with Jersey church people, it is not seen as being something high on their agenda, which is an interesting point.’He explained that his position would depend on whether a gay priest’s relationship was a sexual one.
‘I think that is a very different circumstance,’ he said.
‘If the relationship is asexual or celibate, it is different.’Mr Seaford added: ‘I really don’t like the word ”gay”.
I think it is a misused word.
Gay has been stolen to mean something sexual.
I have a friend called Gay.’