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In what could be a significant reversal for the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams (pictured), who opposed the appointment of a lesbian bishop in the U.S. Episcopal Church, may promote a gay priest to bishop.
The Associated Press cites newspaper reports, which indicate that "Williams is prepared to back the elevation of the Rev. Jeffrey John, who withdrew seven years ago from an appointment as a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the face of a heated controversy about his homosexuality. Williams' office will not comment."
The person appointed bishop would represent the Southwark diocese in London. According to the AP, representatives met in secret early this week to choose two nominees, whom Prime Minister David Cameron will review before making a recommendation to Queen Elizabeth II, the final decider.
Last month Williams, the spiritual head of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, removed the Episcopal Church from Anglican doctrinal committees in response to the election of Mary Douglas Glasspool as an assistant bishop in Los Angeles.
The AP reports that John, who is 57, may be seen as a less controversial candidate because he claims to be celibate, despite being in a civil partnership.