Diocese of Portsmouth

    Bishop Kenneth's Statement about Canon Jeffrey John

    10 July 2003

    My first thoughts are for Jeffrey John. In the face of considerable hostility, and at great personal cost, he has shown admirable honesty and integrity. His decision to withdraw from the appointment reveals deep moral courage and reflects his consistent regard for the well-being of the wider Church. We must now pray that he be given strength and encouragement to continue his much-valued ministry in Southwark and opportunity to use his considerable gifts in the service of the Gospel. We should also support his Bishop, Tom Butler, and all those who will work with Jeffrey as he tries to put the pain of the past few weeks behind him.

    My thoughts also go to Archbishop Rowan and the Bishop of Oxford, both of whom have had to contend with unprecedented public pressure. This raises questions about how the Church handles senior appointments, and we need time and space to reflect and learn lessons for the future. I fully support the Archbishop’s determination to nurture a sincere respect for difference within a common search for unity and truth. Most importantly, the Church must not allow questions about sex to distract it from the crucial task of reaching out to those who are vulnerable and marginalised in our society.

    Bishop Kenneth

    7th July 2003