Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral. Photograph by galfred

The Church of England’s ruling General Synod has voted in support of proposals to allow the ordination of women bishops as soon as next year.

Members of the Synod voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposal, which also includes the formation of an ombudsman to decide disputes, with 378 in favour, eight against, and 25 abstentions.

This votes paves the way for the endorsement of female bishops alongside guidance for parishes which currently reject such a role for women in an official “declaration”.

The ombudsman would be appointed by the archbishops, with the support of representatives from the clergy and lay in the General Synod, and would have the power to investigate any complaints about arrangements to introduce women bishops into parishes.

This vote comes a year after the General Synod voted against a previous plan to ordain women bishops by just six votes, plunging the church into crisis. The church was given an ultimatum in July, at the last General Synod, that of they did not move to introduce women bishops then parliament could be forced to intervene.


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