Senior anglicans will not accept bishops authority
Senior Anglicans have said that they will not recognise the authority of the first openly homosexual bishop in the Church of England if his appointment was confirmed.
More than 30 church leaders, including five bishops from Britain and abroad, gave warning that Canon Jeffrey John would effectively be shunned if he accepted the position of Suffragan Bishop of Reading.
The threat followed a meeting in Oxford attended by one English diocesan bishop, the Anglican primate of the West Indies and the Bishop of Dallas, Texas.
They joined clergy and laity from the Diocese of Oxford who have opposed their bishop's decision to appoint Canon John.
The group called on him to withdraw his acceptance of the post or risk precipitating a crisis in the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican communion.
Their spokesman also warned the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and other bishops that they would be in violation of Anglican doctrine if they took part in Canon John's consecration at Westminster Abbey in October.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the group said: "We urge Dr Jeffrey John to withdraw his acceptance. This appointment flouts the mainstream Anglican teaching on human sexuality. We believe that if he is consecrated the unity of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion will be disrupted."
"We are concerned and praying for Canon John, who has become the focus of this major Anglican controversy."
The group is also understood to have discussed possible sanctions against the Diocese of Oxford, which made the appointment, including the withdrawal of contributions from parishes opposed to Canon John's consecration.
The statement continued: "We discussed strategies that would help Oxford clergy and lay people caught up in this crisis."
The statement will dismay Dr Williams, who earlier this week sought to calm the situation by appealing for a period of reflection.
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Richard Harries, who chose Canon John, has refused to back down over the appointment.
Philip Giddings, a lay preacher in the Reading area and spokesman for the group, said some parishes would refuse to accept Canon John's ministry if he was appointed.
That would mean the boycotting of episcopal events, and other measures including the withdrawal of the "parish share", funds given by parishes to the parent diocese.