Church of England to have women bishops14 Jul 2014 By Sam Setchell
The General Synod of the Church of England has today 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
This means the first woman bishop could potentially be appointed by the end of the year.
Today's vote comes 18 months after the proposal was last voted upon in November 2012 when the proposal failed to achieve the required two thirds majority in the House of Laity.
Bishop John said: "I am delighted by today's vote, which means that the first women bishops will be ordained very soon. The atmosphere of the debate was gracious and godly. After the disastrous vote of November 2012, it was a wonderful turnaround: it reminded me that God is able to turn anything around, just as He brought resurrection out of the crucifixion. What struck me most forcibly was the way in which pretty much everyone - even those who have conscientious objections to women becoming bishops - signalled their determination to stick together and go forward in trust."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.
My aim, and I believe the aim of the whole church, should be to be able to offer a place of welcome and growth for all. Today is a time of blessing and gift from God and thus of generosity. It is not winner take all, but in love a time for the family to move on together."The legislation approved today includes a House of Bishops declaration, underpinned by five guiding principles and a disputes resolution procedure. Following the vote on the measure which enables women to become Bishops, the Synod voted on enabling legislation (Canon) and also rescinded existing legislation (Act of Synod) as part of a package of measures being proposed.
Following today's vote the measure moves to the Legislative Committee of General Synod and then to the Ecclesiastical Committee of the Houses of Parliament where the legislation will be considered. Subject to Parliamentary approval the measure will return to the General Synod in November of this year where it will come into force after its promulgation (legal formal announcement).
Today's vote follows a process which began at the 2013 July Synod which created a steering committee on women bishops, chaired by the Bishop of Rochester James Langstaff, with a mandate to draw up a package of new proposals. Bishop James opened the debate on behalf of the steering committee and responded to the debate urging synod members to vote for the proposals.