On Tuesday 28 March, Christian Today reported that following a complaint by five members of the Electoral College of the Church in Wales concerning the ‘deeply inappropriate’ references which were made to The Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John’s homosexuality when considering his nomination as Bishop of Llandaff, a formal investigation has been launched into the process; a legal panel chaired by a judge will decide whether to scrap the decision not to take Dr John’s nomination forward.
In an Press Notice on 16 March 2017 (updated on 21 March), the Church in Wales stated [emphasis added]:
“ALLEGATIONS OF HOMOPHOBIA – A RESPONSE
The meeting of the Electoral College for the next Bishop of Llandaff was confidential and the Church in Wales will not comment on speculation about the nomination and discussion of candidates. However, we strongly deny allegations of homophobia in the process. Neither homosexuality nor participation in a civil partnership are a bar to any candidate being either nominated or elected as a Bishop in the Church in Wales. Moreover, this was made clear to members of the Electoral College by its President, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon”.
The complaint, signed by five of the 47-strong body was made to Simon Lloyd, the provincial secretary for the Church in Wales. This further information was provided by Thinking Anglicans:
“The exact wording of the complaint, as reported on Facebook, is as follows:
‘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.’
The Church in Wales has issued the following statement (though not issued as a press release):
‘Five members of the Electoral College, which was assembled to elect the Bishop of Llandaff in February, have now submitted a complaint to the Secretary of the Electoral College. Their complaint is in relation to certain aspects of the conduct of the College. This matter has now been referred to the Legal Sub-Committee, which is a body in the Church in Wales assembled to consider legal and governance matters.
‘The responsibility of appointing the next Bishop of Llandaff has passed to the Bench of Bishops. It is too early to say whether the deliberations of the Legal Sub Committee will have any effect on the timing of an announcement.’”
At the time of writing, the Press Notice Bishop of Llandaff – appointment process continues, above, had not been updated.