Women Bishops: the view from General Synod

Published: 18th July 2014

 The General Synod of the Church of England has given its final approval for women to become bishops in the Church of England.

The vote in the General Synod on the measure was carried by the required two-thirds majority in the three constituent parts of the Synod:  the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity.

The voting results were as follows:
House of Bishops: Yes 37  No 2  Abstentions 1
House of Clergy: Yes 162  No 25  Abstentions 4
House of Laity: Yes 152  No 45  Abstentions 5

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:
Today is the completion of what was begun over 20 years with the ordination of women as priests. I am delighted with today's result. Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases disagreeing. The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds. Very few institutions achieve this, but if we manage this we will be living our more fully the call of Jesus Christ to love one another. As delighted as I am for the outcome of this vote I am also mindful of those within the Church for whom the result will be difficult and a cause of sorrow."

Mrs Penny Allen, a member of the House of Laity from Lichfield Diocese, said:
The debate was much more good natured than in 2012, and I am delighted that the gifts that women bring to ministry can now be fully recognised. Women can now see they can be treated equally and I hope there will be more young people who will be attracted to the Church of England. Thank you to everyone who prayed, voted in deanery and diocesan synods and a personal thank you to those who contacted me."

"Dr Chik Kaw Tan spoke in the debate against the measure. Other Lichfield House of Laity representatives did not speak in this debate, as we agreed that we had expressed ourselves fully in the previous debate and were all asked by Archbishop Sentamu not to speak if we had nothing new to add. We decided that everything had already been said; in fact the only new information was the diocesan voting, which was full referred to at the beginning of the debate. The electronic voting record will be available shortly. Those who voted in favour did so for a range of reasons. As a group, most of us are following the existing male headship of the Church! We must now move forwards together in unity.

The Bishop of Lichfield, Jonathan Gledhill, said:
"I am delighted with the result. It would be wonderful if we had the first woman bishop in 2015. Let us remember that people who voted against, for conscientious theological reasons, are still loyal Anglicans. I think this measure rightly makes proper provision for them. The unity of our church is hugely important."

Photos: Main - the General Synod meeting in York
Lower - the Revd Preb Pat Hawkins (in green), of the House of Clergy and Lichfield Diocese 
Both photos (C) Keith Blundy / Aegies Associates

Page last updated: Friday 18th July 2014 11:39 AM
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