Dr Jeffrey John, who was appointed last week as the new Dean of St Albans is coming under pressure to leave his new post. A group of evangelical clergy and laity in the St Albans diocese issued a statement on Tuesday expressing their "dismay" at his appointment. They said: " We recognise that the ministry of the Dean is confined primarily to the Cathedral, but in view of the role such a person takes in the Diocese as a whole and also the importance of the Cathedral as one of the larger churches in the Diocese we regret this appointment. "We note that this particular appointment has been made despite the request of the Lambeth Commission that perceived controversial appointments should be avoided during their 12 months consultation period. We consequently regard this step as a serious error of judgement. Furthermore, we are aggrieved that the Diocesan Bishop, who has also called on people not to take precipitate action, should have agreed to the appointment, thus creating division within the Diocese and the wider Anglican Communion. "Such disquiet and concern has been compounded by the statements made at the Press Conference, both by Canon Jeffrey John and the Bishop of St Albans. We regard their views as reported as wholly erroneous and contrary to Scripture, tradition and reason, as well as the statements of the House of Bishops (Issues in Human Sexuality) and the Anglican Communion. We respectfully request that the appointment be withdrawn. "We recognise that individual clergy, congregations and lay members have taken, or will wish to take, further action. We will continue to consult, work and pray together for the advancement of the gospel of Christ and the upholding of biblical standards in the Diocese." Less than a year ago Dr John withdrew his acceptance of the post of Bishop of Reading, after a storm of protest from Anglican conservatives. The Anglican Communion set up a commission to examine the issue of gay clergy - following the appointment of openly gay bishop Gene Robinson last November. A statement from the diocese says Bishop Herbert is currently out of the country leading a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. He will meet diocesan clergy and representatives of parishes concerned about the appointment after his return on 7 May.
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