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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 08:41 GMT 09:41 UK
New Bishop of Reading consecrated
Canon Stephen Cottrell
Canon Cottrell hopes to be a 'focus for unity'
The new Bishop of Reading was being officially consecrated on Tuesday, bringing an end to controversy after a gay cleric was nominated to the post.

Canon Stephen Cottrell's appointment comes after Canon Jeffrey John turned down the senior post following a row over his sexuality.

Canon Cottrell said he believed he was an ideal choice to heal the divisions in the church.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is leading the ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral.

"The more I've thought and prayed about this the more I believe that God has called me to Reading - because experiences I have had in the past mean I can be a focus for unity," Canon Cottrell said.

The married father-of-three former pastor at Peterborough Cathedral has called for the church to "listen more" to the gay community.

"I am somebody who has genuine sympathy and understanding for the different views that are held and I don't want to exclude anyone from the church," he said.

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