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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 July, 2003, 10:45 GMT 11:45 UK
Jeffrey John's letter in full
Canon Jeffrey John, whose would-be appointment as the Bishop of Reading sparked a huge row in the Anglican Church over his homosexuality, has written to thank his supporters. Here is the full text of his letter published in the Reading Chronicle.

Dear Sir,

I would very much like to thank all the local media and the many people of the Reading Episcopal area who welcomed my nomination as bishop, and who have continued to offer me warm support over the difficult weeks that have just passed.

I have received literally thousands of messages, including many hundreds from the Reading area.

The overwhelming majority of them have been friendly and supportive.

As well as messages from Anglican clergy and laity, many came from leaders and representatives of other denominations and of other faiths, looking forward to our working together.

I am also extremely grateful to the Lords Lieutenant of Berkshire and Oxfordshire, to Reading's Members of Parliament and other Berkshire MPs, and to the many representatives of local government who sent their good wishes and offers of support.

This avalanche of kindness has left me all the more saddened and disappointed that I cannot now come to serve you as your bishop.

I have received an impression of Reading, and of the great majority of Reading Christians, as instinctively fair, welcoming, accepting, and willing to give a stranger (even one with a 'gay' label) a chance to prove himself.

I am more sorry than I can express that in the end that chance was taken away.

Many of those who have written to me since the withdrawal of my nomination have said that they are tempted to leave the Church in disgust.

That is a reaction I understand all too well, but it is not the way.

We have to keep praying, keep making our Communion, keep studying the scriptures, keep loving those who hurt and reject us.

Love wins in the end, and if we are faithful, in the end we will build a Church that looks more like Jesus, and that will truly be a home for all God's children.

I will keep Reading in my prayers, and hope you will keep me in yours.

Yours sincerely,

Jeffrey John.

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