by Jonathan Petre, Mailonline


  • Jeffrey John is a strong contender to become bishop of Monmouth
  • Dr John is in a civil partnership with hospital chaplain Rev Grant Holmes
  • Friends believe 60-year-old is too outspoken to get a post in England


A controversial Church of England dean could become Britain’s first openly gay bishop.


Senior insiders believe the Very Rev Jeffrey John, the dean of St Albans, is a strong contender to become the next bishop of Monmouth.


If elected next month, the Welsh-born cleric would be the UK’s first Anglican bishop in a civil partnership, a development that would send shockwaves through the Church worldwide.


However, insiders said the mood in Britain was changing and many worshippers would accept a gay bishop as long as he was celibate, as Dr John is.


The dean, a respected theologian, is said to have been unfairly treated because of his sexuality.


Dr John, a prominent advocate for gay marriage, was at the centre of a storm over gay clergy in 2003 when he was forced to step down as bishop of Reading by the then Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams after a backlash by conservatives, particularly in Africa and Asia.


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