General Synod Rejects Draft Legislation on Women Bishops
Monday at 9:53pmThe general synod of the Church of England has voted against the appointment of women as bishops. The measure was passed by the synod's houses of bishops and clergy but was rejected by the House of Laity.
The votes were 44 for and three against with two abstentions in the House of Bishops, 148 for and 45 against in the House of Clergy and 132 for and 74 against in the House of Laity. The vote in the House of Laity, was just short of the required majority - six more 'yes' votes were needed.
The House of laity is the largest element of the General Synod and is made up of lay members of the church elected by its 44 dioceses.
The Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Revd Michael Perham said:
"The failure of the Women Bishops' Measure to achieve the necessary majority in the House of Laity is a huge disappointment and sadness. Many men as much as many women will experience this as a real blow, but my heart goes out particularly to our women clergy who have ministered so effectively in the Church and had hoped today would be an affirmation of their ministry.
"In the Diocese of Gloucester I think they know their priesthood is honoured and valued. I believe those of us who have worked hard for a positive vote need now a little time to work through our initial sadness and frustration, but then we must go to work - led firmly by the House of Bishops, I hope - on finding a way through that does not mean five more years of waiting for a development that will surely come. There will be women bishops in the Church of England. I have no doubt about that. Our response to the Holy Spirit and the effectiveness of our mission require it."
Bishop Michael takes a philosophical and measured view. It is one I agree with.
What I do find interesting is the fact that several of the "nay-sayers" were women. They did not, according to their statements, vote against the consecration of women, but against what they see as a deeply flawed Measure which made no provision for the ministry of and to those who cannot, in conscience, accept a woman as a bishop.
That does rather put a different complexion on the outcome and makes a nonsense of some of the garbage being churned out by the ignorant in the media and elsewhere, many of whom do not seem to know that the measure was not about "ordination" - women are already ordained to the priesthood and have shown their ability in ministry more than adequately - but about the final level, "consecration."
As for the garbage being spewed by certain politicians ...