After years of negotiations, the general tide of public conscience being progressive and pro-equality, and the support from Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury – a very close vote at the general synod of the Church of England has rejected the call for allowing women bishops into the Church.
The measure was passed by the synod’s Houses of Bishops and House of Clergy but was rejected by the House of Laity, with the controversy centring on the provisions for parishes opposed to women bishops to request supervision by a stand-in male bishop. 324 members of the synod voted for women bishops, the the 122 votes against were sufficient to block the measure under the Church’s voting rules.
Supporters of women Bishops vowed to continue their campaign, but it will be five years until another vote on the issue can occur within normal Church operation.
Prime Minister David Cameron has also said that he was “very sad” at the decision. The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was noticeably saddened by the decision describing his “deep personal sadness at the decision”. Both he and his successor, the Rt Rev Justin Welby, the current Bishop of Durham, supported the measure, with Welby taking to twitter to say:
Very grim day, most of all for women priests and supporters, need to surround all with prayer & love and co-operate with our healing God.
— Justin Welby (@JustinWelby) November 21, 2012