Bishops from around the region say they feel disappointed and sorrowful after legislation introducing the first women bishops failed to clear its final hurdle tonight.

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And the Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, insisted a “constructive way forward” must be found urgently, after describing the vote in favour of a change in the law as “overwhelming”.

The Church of England’s draft measure was carried in the houses of bishops and clergy of the General Synod but failed to gain the necessary two thirds majority amongst the lay members of the General Synod.

The House of Bishops voted 44 in favour, with three against and two recorded abstentions. In the House of Clergy, 148 voted in favour, 45 against and there were no abstentions.

But in the House of Laity, 74 voted against, compared to 132 in favour with no abstentions.

If six people had changed their vote from no to yes in the House of Laity, the legislation would have received the necessary two thirds majority.

The defeat will mean the legislation will take at least another five years before it could reach the same stage for debate in the General Synod.

The incoming Archbishop of Canterbury the Rt Rev Justin Welby, had urged the General Synod to give the legislation the necessary majority.

And Bishop James said: “The vote in favour of the legislation to ordain women as bishops was overwhelming.

“But we do set the bar very high by expecting a two-thirds majority in order to carry as many people as possible with us.

“Many of those who voted against did pledge themselves to work for better legislation to make it possible to proceed with women bishops.

“We now need urgently to find a constructive way forward. It feels very disappointing, especially as the ministry of women priests has been so well received.

“But I am sure that God will lead us into a hopeful future where everyone will celebrate.”

The Rt Revd Stephen Conway, the Bishop of Ely, said the hopes of a very clear majority of churchgoers had been “thwarted” for the time being.

He said: “I am deeply sorrowful about the failure of the General Synod to pass the draft legislation to consecrate women as bishops.

“It is terribly wounding not only for our devoted clergy who are women, but also for me and all who long for women to exercise the ministry to which God calls them in all three sacred orders.”

Dr Martin Warner, the Bishop of Chichester and Master of the College of Guardians, said: “The General Synod’s vote not to proceed at this stage with the ordination of women as bishops under the terms of the measure that was proposed has emerged from an intense and complex debate in the Church of England.”

Dr Warner added the guardians recognised “the pain and disappointment that this vote will bring to many, Walsingham pilgrims among them”.

The vote came after a series of speakers opposed giving final approval to the legislation.

A spokesman for the Church of England said there would be an emergency meeting of the House of Bishops tomorrow morning in light of the result.

5 comments

  • "after describing the vote in favour of a change in the law as “overwhelming”." but not so overwhelming as to persuade two thirds to vote for the change. Nevermind, as in all these things, they'll keep hammering away until the voters get it "right"!

    Report this comment

    richard black

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • Any other business would be before the Civil Courts on charges of Sexism and discrimination, Not long now I suspect before this is the way that this one goes!

    Report this comment

    Farquarson-Smythe

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • Sadly the CoE doesn't actually matter any longer. It has become irrelevant. Te rot started with Series One and by the time it had finished torturing itself with priestesses it had become so irrelevant that it has lost sight of what the Church is for. To satisfy the liberal followers of contemporary fashion it has forgotten the purpose of the Church. Political correctness is the new Gospel and Psalms. Methodism is no different from the CoE so those who want women in clergy clothes might as well go there. Traditionalists have Orthodoxy. Those who like the CoE as it used to be a few years ago have Catholicism. Evangelicals have the Baptists. There is nothing left now for the CoE. It no longer is the answer to the questions posed by G*d.

    Report this comment

    Carborundum

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • Sadly the CoE doesn't actually matter any longer. It has become irrelevant. The rot started with Series One and by the time it had finished torturing itself with priestesses it had become so irrelevant that it has lost sight of what the Church is for. To satisfy the liberal followers of contemporary fashion it has forgotten the purpose of the Church. Political correctness is the new Gospel and Psalms. Methodism is no different from the CoE so those who want women in clergy clothes might as well go there. Traditionalists have Orthodoxy. Those who like the CoE as it used to be a few years ago have Catholicism. Evangelicals have the Baptists. There is nothing left now for the CoE. It no longer is the answer to the questions posed by G*d.

    Report this comment

    Carborundum

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • Sadly the CoE doesn't actually matter any longer. It has become irrelevant. The rot started with Series One and by the time it had finished torturing itself with priestesses it had become so irrelevant that it has lost sight of what the Church is for. To satisfy the liberal followers of contemporary fashion it has forgotten the purpose of the Church. Political correctness is the new Gospel and Psalms. Methodism is no different from the CoE so those who want women in clergy clothes might as well go there. Traditionalists have Orthodoxy. Those who like the CoE as it used to be a few years ago have Catholicism. Evangelicals have the Baptists. There is nothing left now for the CoE. It no longer is the answer to the questions posed by G*d.

    Report this comment

    Carborundum

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

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