Bishop 'Deeply Disappointed' Over Synod Decision

Published: 21st November 2012

The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, described the decision of the Church of England's ruling body, the General Synod, to vote against ordaining women as bishops as ''as a bitter blow''.

The 63-year-old Bishop, who voted in favour of having women bishops, said it was 'a very unwelcome result.'

He had been keen to see the motion go through and had spoken of his optimism to see the first woman bishop being enthroned as early as the beginning of next year.

However, the measure failed to get the two thirds majority required among lay members - the House of Laity, which meant that the decision will have to be put on hold for a number of years.

Bishop Jonathan, (pictured), said: This is a very unwelcome result. The vast majority of members of the Church of England wanted the change to allow female bishops over the past couple of years 42 out of 44 Diocesan Synods have voted in favour, so for General Synod to prevaricate in July and again now is a bitter blow.''

He said that it may now put a question mark against the General Synod as an elected body.

''It might even call into question the process by which representatives are elected to General Synod when they are not genuinely reflecting the view of the majority.'' At the end of the day long debate, the draft measure failed to gain the necessary two thirds majority among the lay members.Under the voting process rules each of the three Houses needed to return a two thirds majority and while two did the third did not.

The other two Houses that make up the General Synod voted in favour with the House of Bishops voting 44 for the motion and three against with two recorded abstentions.In the House of Clergy, 148 were for while 45 were against.

But in the House of Laity, 74 voted against compared to 132 in favour with no abstentions being recorded which meant that it failed to meet the two-thirds majority by six votes.

In an interview earlier this year the Bishop admitted that he had not always supported the principle.

''I used to be against it years and years ago, but gradually circumstances and study of the New Testament have changed my mind,'' he said.

. ''When you first look at it, Jesus chose twelve male apostles: its only when you look more closely that you see its not a static picture and that the New Testament is moving towards women being used in leadership. In that same interview Bishop Jonanthan said that he now looked forward to the Church of England naming its first woman bishop.

It would be marvellous if we had the first woman bishop in late 2013 or early 2014, he said.

That though will not be possible as the result means it will be at least five years before the synod gets to vote on final approval of such legislation.

The main point of controversy had focused on the provisions for parishes opposed to women bishops to request supervision by a stand-in male bishop.

The House of Bishops will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday morning following the decision, a spokesman said.

Page last updated: Wednesday 21st November 2012 8:06 AM
Powered by Church Edit