Worcester Diocese approves path to women bishops1 May 2014 By James Atkinson
On Wednesday 30 April, the Worcester Diocesan Synod overwhelmingly supported the proposals from the General Synod of the Church of England to enable women to become bishops.
The proposals need to be approved by the majority of Diocesan Synods (the governing body for each Diocese), before the legislation to allow women to become bishops can be debated finally at the General Synod meeting in July. In Worcester, the proposals were wholeheartedly approved, with just one vote against the motion.
Bishop John said: "Yesterday's vote was wonderful news. The Diocese of Worcester has always been overwhelmingly in favour of allowing women to become bishops so I was not surprised that the vote was almost unanimous. We hope that other dioceses will give a similarly clear steer to General Synod and it won't be long before we are consecrating our first female bishop."
The subject was introduced by Professor Michael Clarke, who is one of Worcester's representatives on General Synod and has been very involved in the journey towards having women bishops. He explained the progress that had been made since the last proposed legislation was not approved by the General Synod in 2012 saying: "Through facilitated discussions we have explored new territory and found ways of reconciling what had seemed to be irreconcilable interests. This new way forward is now widely supported by the majority of viewpoints in the Church of England."
The Revd Eva McIntyre, Vicar of Stourport and Wilden, is another of Worcester's representatives on General Synod. She said: "Having gone through the dreadful experience of 2012 and seen the turnaround in 2013, I believe we've ended up with a simpler and more honest piece of legislation, which is definitely something to rejoice about."
Bishop John explained that there would still be provision for those who have conscientious theological objections to the ordained ministry of women with a code of practice in place.
The motion to approve the proposals from General Synod was voted for by the different Houses of the Diocesan Synod with the following results:
• Bishops: 2 in favour
• Clergy: 23 in favour, 0 against, 0 abstentions
• Laity: 36 in favour, 1 against, 0 abstentions
The wording of the motion was:
"That this Synod approve the proposals embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and in draft Amending Canon No33."
The Diocese of Worcester is one of 44 dioceses in the Church of England. It covers an area of 671 square miles and includes parishes in the County of Worcestershire, the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, and a few parishes in northern Gloucestershire, south east Wolverhampton and Sandwell.
From: Sam Setchell, Press Officer for the Diocese of Worcester and the Bishop of Worcester.
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