Williams reinstates bishop after gay row

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An Evangelical clergyman who lost his standing as a bishop over a gay row has been reinstated by the Archbishop of Canterbury

Dr Rowan Williams allowed an appeal by the Reverend Richard Coekin against the revocation of his bishop licence by the Bishop of Southwark, Reverend Tom Butler.

Mr Coekin will now regain his role as a minister in the diocese of Southwark, in collaboration with its Bishop and in partnership with its clergy.

The appeal was heard on the Archbishop’s behalf by the Bishop of Winchester, Reverend Michael Scott-Joynt.

The report found that although Mr Coekin was, by his own admission, acting outside the authority of the diocesan bishop in facilitating ‘irregular’ ordinations over the head of Mr Butler, after allowing ordinations by a bishop from the anti gay Reform church in South Africa with which the Church of England is not ‘in communion’, after the House of Bishops allowing clergymen to have civil partnerships and a meeting between gay bishop Gene Robinson and Dr Rowan Williams.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has accepted the Bishop of Winchester’s conclusions and has encouraged the parties to put this episode behind them. He said: “My hope and expectation for the diocese of Southwark and for the ministry of Dundonald church and its minister, the Reverend Richard Coekin, is that they will now all be able to draw a line under the episode examined so thoroughly in the bishop’s report, and commit themselves to renewed collaboration in the mission of Christ in the months and years ahead.”