Church of England say no to female bishops

Last updated 08:21 21/11/2012
Dr Rowan Williams, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury speaks during a meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England at which the church decided against allowing women to become bishops.
Getty Images
NO GO: Dr Rowan Williams, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury speaks during a meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England at which the church decided against allowing women to become bishops.

Relevant offers

World

Thailand tourist murder suspects retract confessions Indonesian air force intercepts Australian plane Jewish inroads in Jerusalem Lewinsky was 'patient zero' US tourist Jeffrey Fowle freed from North Korea Four dead babies found in locker in Canada Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies Wife 'hired help' to kill Aussie in Bali Autopsy show Brown shot in hand Isis intercepts US arms drop to Kurds

The Church of England's governing body has narrowly blocked a move to permit women to serve as bishops, leaving the church facing more years of contentious debate.

Following a day-long debate (overnight, NZ time), opponents mustered enough support to deny the necessary two-thirds majority among lay members of the General Synod.

The defeat was a setback for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who retires at the end of December, and his successor, Bishop Justin Welby. Both had strongly endorsed a proposed compromise that they had hoped would end decades of debate.

Passage of legislation to allow women to serve as bishops must be approved by two-thirds majorities in the synod's three houses: bishops, priests and laity. Synod members were voting on the latest compromise which calls for church leaders to "respect" the position of parishes that oppose female bishops — without saying exactly what "respect" means.

The vote was 132 in favour and 74 against. In separate votes, bishops voted 44-3 in favour with two abstentions, and clergy voted 148-45 in favour.

Church officials say it may take five years to go through the process of taking new legislation to a final vote.

In the day-long debate, many speakers expressed regret that they were unable to agree on a way forward.

"Whatever the outcome, there is no victory in the coming days. It is a train crash," said Reverend Angus MacLeay, summing up for the opposition.

Sister churches of the Anglican Communion in Australia, New Zealand and the United States already have women serving as bishops.

Southern Africa joined that group on Sunday with the consecration of Ellinah Wamukoya as the Anglican bishop of Swaziland.

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content