Church of England rejects women bishops

The Northern Echo: UNHAPPY RESULT: The Right Reverend Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham and incoming Archbishop of Cantebury, background, looks on as Dr Rowan Williams, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury is given a hug after church vote rejects women as bishops UNHAPPY RESULT: The Right Reverend Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham and incoming Archbishop of Cantebury, background, looks on as Dr Rowan Williams, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury is given a hug after church vote rejects women as bishops

CHURCH of England leaders last night rejected plans to introduce women bishops – despite backing for the historic proposal from the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Senior clergy in the region said the decision had left the Church of England looking ridiculous.

The proposal needed two-thirds in each of the governing General Synod’s three houses – bishops, clergy and laity.

The votes were 44 for and two against 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, meaning the laity vote fell just short.

The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, the Dean of Durham, said last night he was utterly dismayed by the decision.

“It leaves us looking ridiculous – we will be laughed at,” he added.

“I think there will be people who will simply leave the church because they can’t see a future in a place where women aren’t given senior positions.”

Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, vicar of Belmont and Pittington, near Durham City, has been a prominent campaigner for women bishops.

She described the decision as insane.

She said: “I’m very disappointed.

We will continue the debate and waste another five or ten years – I would have thought the Church of England had better things to do quite frankly. It’s flabbergasting.”

Before the vote, the Bishop of Durham – the next archbishop of Canterbury – Justin Welby – made an impassioned plea to the General Synod to approve the legislation, insisting the Church of England must finish the job on female ordination, but promising to protect those who remain opposed.

He said: “It is time to finish the job and vote for this measure.

“But, also, the Church of England needs to show how to develop the mission of the church in a way that demonstrates we can manage diversity of view without division.

Diversity in amity; not diversity in enmity.”

Referring to the additional code of practice which would have been drawn up to allow alternative episcopal oversight for those who do not want women bishops, he added: “I am personally deeply committed – and believe that fellow bishops are also – to ensuring as far as I am able that what we promise today and later in the code of conduct is carried out faithfully in spirit as well as in letter.”

Yesterday’s vote was seen as Bishop Welby’s first major test.

Last week, 325 traditional clergy signed an open letter warning that allowing women bishops would severely prejudice their ministries and lead irrevocably to deep fractures within the Church.

However, more than 1,000 clergy and senior laity signed an open letter published by Rev Dr Threlfall- Holmes, in which she urged the Synod to back the change.

Controversy had centred on the provisions for parishes opposed to women bishops to request supervision by a stand-in male bishop. The vote was seen as the Church of England’s most important decision since allowing women priests 20 years ago.

The Right Reverend John Packer, Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, said: “I am bitterly disappointed by the Synod result.

“I believed we had evolved a piece of legislation which was both positive in affirming women and their ministry as bishops, but which at the same time made proper provision for those who in all conscience could not accept this.”

He added: “I want again to affirm the excellent ministry of women in our own diocese and my own absolute belief that they ought to be considered for episcopal roles.”

Asked for his message to women who were thinking of leaving the ministry following the vote, Dr Williams said: “I would say first of all that I can well understand that feeling of rejection and unhappiness and deep perhaps disillusion with the institutional Church that many women may be feeling.

“I would also say it is still your Church and your voice matters and always will be heard and it is important therefore not to give up.

Deep sorrow after church announces its vote

”SUPPORTERS of the failed legislation to ordain women bishops said they were devastated last night with many saying they felt they had been betrayed by the lay members of the General Synod who voted against it.

At St Matthew’s Church, in Westminster, where many of those who had taken part in the vote gathered afterwards, there was a sense of disappointment.

Sally Barnes, of campaign group Watch, said: “My initial reaction is one of deep sorrow at the missed opportunity, especially as we know that the House of Bishops really wanted it to go through.”

She said those who were against the proposal had failed to appreciate the enormous generosity of a large number of women priests that supported them in making concession after concession in the draft legislation.

April Alexander, a lay General Synod member from Southwark Diocese, said: ‘‘It is the very essence of discrimination.”

The Reverend Canon Robert Cotton, from Guildford, said: “There is a lot of fury that we are letting people down.”

Sources close to Culture Secretary Maria Miller, who is also equalities minister, said: “While this is a matter for the church, it’s very disappointing as we seek to help women fulfil their potential throughout society.”

Comments (7)

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7:41pm Tue 20 Nov 12

Voice-of-reality says...

Fantastic news. Moreover, that it is the laity that voted against shows that the majority of practicising members of the church do not want women bishops. That some 900 parishes would also have voted out of the new system again underlines the extent to which it is the 'happy clappy' element that is out of touch. As to what happens next - let those who want women bishops form another new age church and let the rest of us get on with proper ministry.
Fantastic news. Moreover, that it is the laity that voted against shows that the majority of practicising members of the church do not want women bishops. That some 900 parishes would also have voted out of the new system again underlines the extent to which it is the 'happy clappy' element that is out of touch. As to what happens next - let those who want women bishops form another new age church and let the rest of us get on with proper ministry. Voice-of-reality

7:49pm Tue 20 Nov 12

NO EINSTEIN says...

I blame it on the fact we gave women the vote, we should of left it how it was, they will want to be prime minister next.
I blame it on the fact we gave women the vote, we should of left it how it was, they will want to be prime minister next. NO EINSTEIN

10:22am Wed 21 Nov 12

frankyboy says...

It's time the government legislated to stop this disgraceful sexism. Why is the church - who should really be setting an example to society, when it comes to fairness and equality - allowed to get away with this, when any other business would find itself in court.
If the church had refused to promote Sentamu on account of him being black, would the government have turned a blind eye? I think not. So why do they do so when it comes to blatant sex discrimination?
It's time the government legislated to stop this disgraceful sexism. Why is the church - who should really be setting an example to society, when it comes to fairness and equality - allowed to get away with this, when any other business would find itself in court. If the church had refused to promote Sentamu on account of him being black, would the government have turned a blind eye? I think not. So why do they do so when it comes to blatant sex discrimination? frankyboy

10:52am Wed 21 Nov 12

Longbowman666 says...

Voice of reality - Why is this 'fantastic news' - all that it proves is that the 'laity' (of which many do actually want women bishops), are as out of touch with reality as they and the church have ever been. These bigoted and ignorant people love to quote the Bible as being the 'word of God' and therefore it is set in stone and cannot be questioned. Odd that, as it has been re-written and revised many times over the centuries.

What they fail to see (or are too blinded by their own set beliefs) to see is that the Bible is not just a religious document but also a historical one, and should be read in that context, bearing in mind the social and political structures that existed then and which persisted through into the late medieval / Tudor / Elizabethan eras. The book was written by MEN, at a time when they (and only they) were allowed a voice, or to hold office (take a look at Ancient Greece and the Athenian society as a case in point – the same applied in Jewish and Islamic cultures). Therefore it obviously follows that it would read that only men could do this or that, not women as their place in society was seen as being inferior to that of men.

What difference does it make whether a priest / bishop / archbishop etc is a man, a woman, or someone who is sky blue with pink spots on? What matters is surely their convictions and the commitment that they bring to the position?

The biggest laugh of course is that the Queen (who was female the last time I looked) is the HEAD of the C of E, and the C of E itself was created by her ancestor Henry VIII as he wanted a divorce from wife no 1 and the Pope wouldn’t give him one! Good rock upon which to build the foundation of the C of E on wasn’t it?
Voice of reality - Why is this 'fantastic news' - all that it proves is that the 'laity' (of which many do actually want women bishops), are as out of touch with reality as they and the church have ever been. These bigoted and ignorant people love to quote the Bible as being the 'word of God' and therefore it is set in stone and cannot be questioned. Odd that, as it has been re-written and revised many times over the centuries. What they fail to see (or are too blinded by their own set beliefs) to see is that the Bible is not just a religious document but also a historical one, and should be read in that context, bearing in mind the social and political structures that existed then and which persisted through into the late medieval / Tudor / Elizabethan eras. The book was written by MEN, at a time when they (and only they) were allowed a voice, or to hold office (take a look at Ancient Greece and the Athenian society as a case in point – the same applied in Jewish and Islamic cultures). Therefore it obviously follows that it would read that only men could do this or that, not women as their place in society was seen as being inferior to that of men. What difference does it make whether a priest / bishop / archbishop etc is a man, a woman, or someone who is sky blue with pink spots on? What matters is surely their convictions and the commitment that they bring to the position? The biggest laugh of course is that the Queen (who was female the last time I looked) is the HEAD of the C of E, and the C of E itself was created by her ancestor Henry VIII as he wanted a divorce from wife no 1 and the Pope wouldn’t give him one! Good rock upon which to build the foundation of the C of E on wasn’t it? Longbowman666

12:17pm Wed 21 Nov 12

oliviaden6 says...

The Boys of the cloth are looking out for themselves again. If female Bishops are ordained around the world why not, they may even do a better job than some of the cretins that are in office a the moment.
The Boys of the cloth are looking out for themselves again. If female Bishops are ordained around the world why not, they may even do a better job than some of the cretins that are in office a the moment. oliviaden6

12:24pm Wed 21 Nov 12

RobAycliffe says...

oliviaden6 wrote:
The Boys of the cloth are looking out for themselves again. If female Bishops are ordained around the world why not, they may even do a better job than some of the cretins that are in office a the moment.
You are wrong. The synod is composed of three parts, the bishops, the clergy and the laity. The bishops and the clergy voted overwhelmingly in favour of women bishops. It was the lay members who voted against, and by a very small margin but sufficient to derail the proposal (a two-thirds vote is required).
[quote][p][bold]oliviaden6[/bold] wrote: The Boys of the cloth are looking out for themselves again. If female Bishops are ordained around the world why not, they may even do a better job than some of the cretins that are in office a the moment.[/p][/quote]You are wrong. The synod is composed of three parts, the bishops, the clergy and the laity. The bishops and the clergy voted overwhelmingly in favour of women bishops. It was the lay members who voted against, and by a very small margin but sufficient to derail the proposal (a two-thirds vote is required). RobAycliffe

2:04pm Wed 21 Nov 12

RobAycliffe says...

Voice-of-reality wrote:
Fantastic news. Moreover, that it is the laity that voted against shows that the majority of practicising members of the church do not want women bishops. That some 900 parishes would also have voted out of the new system again underlines the extent to which it is the 'happy clappy' element that is out of touch. As to what happens next - let those who want women bishops form another new age church and let the rest of us get on with proper ministry.
The vote was:
Bishops: 44 for, 3 against
Clergy: 148 for, 45 against
Laity: 132 for, 74 against

How do you interpret this result to mean, "the majority of practicising members of the church do not want women bishops"?

There are 13,000 parishes. 900 cannot be described as a majority, even if it were true.
[quote][p][bold]Voice-of-reality[/bold] wrote: Fantastic news. Moreover, that it is the laity that voted against shows that the majority of practicising members of the church do not want women bishops. That some 900 parishes would also have voted out of the new system again underlines the extent to which it is the 'happy clappy' element that is out of touch. As to what happens next - let those who want women bishops form another new age church and let the rest of us get on with proper ministry.[/p][/quote]The vote was: Bishops: 44 for, 3 against Clergy: 148 for, 45 against Laity: 132 for, 74 against How do you interpret this result to mean, "the majority of practicising members of the church do not want women bishops"? There are 13,000 parishes. 900 cannot be described as a majority, even if it were true. RobAycliffe

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