General Synod rejects Women Bishops legislation

The General Synod has failed to agree legislation that would have enabled women to become bishops in the Church of England.

The legislation required a two thirds majority in all three Houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity but failed to achieve that majority in the House of Laity by a mere six votes.

Rt Revd Mike Hill, the Bishop of Bristol, expressed dismay at the outcome:

“I regard the outcome of today’s debate as disastrous. Whilst I have never believed it necessary for anyone to leave the Church on the basis of the Measure before us today, others clearly took another view.

“It will be very difficult for those of us who have supported the ordination of women bishops to process our disappointment in the days ahead. My prayers are with the many people who are hurting, particularly women in our churches and those within and outside the Church who are bemused and disillusioned by such a failure.

“It is amazing to me that the decision to ordain women as bishops that the Church of England agreed in principle several years ago has now been undermined for the foreseeable future. In a culture that celebrates democracy, it does seem strange that a clear minority has managed to influence the debate and elected representatives in such a way.

“However, we will have to come to terms with where we now are and somehow learn to live together with the serious ramifications this failure to move forward creates.”

Revd Emma Ineson, a Diocese of Bristol General Synod representative added:

“I am sorry, disappointed and ashamed that this Synod couldn’t find a way to echo the view of the vast majority of the church who wanted to see women bishops. Now, yet again, we will have to wait – we don’t know for how long – which will be painful and tedious. But I hope we will get there eventually”.

Having failed to agree the legislation over the course of the last three years, the legislative process starts again and it is unclear when it might be able to be brought back.

Read the response of Rt Revd Revd Dr Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon >>
Read the full statement from the Church of England >>

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  1. Delighted with the result

    It means that many of us who would have diffulcty in accepting

    the juristictian of of woman Bishop can remain for the immediate4

    future within the Anglican Community

  2. It’s a very, very sad day and I am disappointed that such attitudes still exist in the 21st century in a democratic country. My prayers are with the Anglican church as it seeks to move forward from this point.

  3. Whilst I am pleased the present legislation did not go through I do not feel this is a time for rejoicing but we should all reflect on what will be a better way forward. Traditionalists have asked that their position be not only respected but safeguarded.Can we not meet the aspirations of this important minority.For the time being I will be content to stay witin the Cof E but please do not regard us as a quaint irritating minority. There should be room for all to flourish.

  4. Thank you Bishop Mike for the prayers… it’ll take a while for this to sink in properly and I feel very sad that my non-Christian friends – who occasionally show a bit of interest – will probably now be less likely to want to have anything to do with an institution that appears to have just taken a great leap backwards. The ‘funny costumes’, the strange language, the discrimination against people who aren’t heterosexual, and now this smack in the face for women priests, in the name of ‘tradition’. The C. of E. can look a bit mad and irrelevant from the outside, I keep hearing. Looks a bit mad from the ‘inside’ at the moment … hope my prayer block wears off soon – need to feel reconnected to Jesus and try to understand what ought to happen next. May God protect Archbishop Justin and those mediation skills I understand he possesses.

  5. Thanks to Bishop Mike for his thoughts.

    Like him, I am deeply disappointed that this measure has not been passed.

    Whilst I respect the theological concerns and objections of those traditionalists who wish to see their position protected, I think those outside the Anglican church, to whom the church MUST reach out to if it is to remain relevant, are utterly bemused by the current situation.

    Having been brought up as an Anglican but now a member of another church in Bristol, I wish Bishop Mike and the new Archbishop my prayers and support as they seek to hold the strongly opposing views together in the church without losing the relevance to those that you seek to bring to faith in Jesus.

  6. As a member of the laity of the Church of England I would like to register a formal protest at the outcome of the Laity vote. Bishop Mike – how do I do this? I do not believe that the Laity vote accurately reflects the majority lay feeling on this issue. Can there be an appeal? Can there be a referendum?

    In the meantime, I confess I am not delighted for the minority who would have found it hard to accept women in leadership. I am not pleased that you can now for the moment remain within the Anglican Communion, as I now find myself in the position of feeling that I cannot continue to live, work and worship within this church which has just rejected me and half the population. Please pray for me and others like me as we decide whether to persevere within the CofE or to give up and take our God given callings and gifts elsewhere, where we will be accepted as equal alongside our brothers in Christ.

  7. I think the vote of Laity was one of genuine love for those in the Church who felt this measure meant that they would have to leave but who are not going to oppose the principle of women bishops for the church as a whole.

    It would be a tragic irony if those left disappointed by yesterday’s result (LIKE MYSELF!) broke with the Church because the HoL voted for its unity.

  8. I’m afraid I can’t help but feel that the ‘no’ votes in the HofL demonstrate a tragic lack of trust amongst a minority who used the detail of the legislation to oppose the spirit and principle of a measure which was so clearly supported (or, at least, tolerated)by the vast majority of the church. Whilst I, personally speaking, cannot understand the desire to fence oneself into a lonely corner (honoured place or barricaded refuge?), clearly there are those among us who wish so to do for reasons which will be clear to them; I just regret deeply that they could not trust us all – including our much-loved and faithful women priests – not to storm their refuge if the measure had been passed yesterday.

  9. Very disillusioning. As the Archbishop Tutu states so clearly “God has only children, not step children”. Except it seems in our beloved the CofE.

  10. I was wondering if it was the job of the Synod member to reflect the views of the church members or whether the vote was done solely on the individual’s own feelings? As a regular church goer I have not been asked my opinion on whether or not women should be bishops. Is this just a failure in communication at my church or are we looking at a deeper problem of the synod members not representing the church congregation effectively? If this is the case should we actually be looking at holding a church-wide referendum to gain the real opinion of the church congregations?

  11. Pingback: Swift reacción subsiguiente a la desestimación de las mujeres como obispos en Inglaterra « Evangelizadoras de los apóstoles

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