Women Bishops

Because the outcome of the vote hurts too much, I post here the facts as reported by the BBC news service.  You may know that a few years ago the Synod of the Church of England accepted the consecration of women to become bishops, but a code of practise (how it would work) needed to be agreed before this could become a reality.  Today’s vote in the General Synod was not as to whether there could or could not be women bishops in the church of England, but it was about how those who objected to it would be catered for.

As you will see, the measure that has taken several years to formulate and define in words, fell today, not by the Bishops, not by the Clergy (who would be the ones raising ecclesiological objections), but by less than 2% of the laity required.  It means the measure cannot be brought again to Synod for a long time, therefore there cannot be women bishops in the CHurch of England for at least several more years.  In order for it to be discussed, completely new arguments would have to be presented, and formulated in a new way.  At the moment, I cannot see how that might happen.  With 1/3 of all the clergy in the CHurch of England being women, and there being more women than men currently trianing for ordination, I cannot see how this is a sustainable position.  Please read below and make up your own minds.

Church of England general synod votes against women bishops

The general synod of the Church of England has voted against the appointment of women as bishops.

The decision came at the end of a day of debate by supporters and opponents – and a 12-year legislative process.

The measure was passed by the synod’s houses of bishops and clergy but was rejected by the house of laity.

Controversy had centred on the provisions for parishes opposed to women bishops to request supervision by a stand-in male bishop.

The measure needed two-thirds majorities in each of the synod’s three houses.

The votes were 44 for and three against with two abstentions in the House of Bishops, 148 for and 45 against in the House of Clergy, and 132 for and 74 against in the House of Laity.

The vote in the House of Laity, at 64%, was just short of the required majority.

A handful more of “yes” votes would have tipped it over the two-thirds mark.

Twenty years after the introduction of women priests, the issue has continued to divide traditionalists – among those on the Church’s evangelical and Anglo-catholic wings – from reformers.

Had the move been backed by the synod, the proposed legislation would have made its way through Parliament before receiving royal assent.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Jones, said: “It is very disappointing that the vote was lost so narrowly.”

Campaign group Women and the Church (Watch) said the outcome was a “devastating blow for the Church of England and the country”.

The Rev Rachel Weir, chairwoman of Watch, said “This is a tragic day for the Church of England after so many years of debate and after all our attempts at compromise.

“Despite this disappointing setback, Watch will continue to campaign for the full acceptance of women’s gifts of leadership in the Church’s life.”

Watch said bishops would need to act promptly to offer pastoral support in the coming weeks to women clergy and others who felt devastated by decision.

Both the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and his successor, the Rt Rev Justin Welby, were in favour of a “yes” vote.

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