Ev­ery dio­cese backs women bishop plans

The Church of England - - Front Page -

WATCH has wel­comed the overwhelming sup­port from ev­ery dio­cese for leg­is­la­tion to en­able the con­se­cra­tion of women bish­ops.

Ch­ester, Rochester, and Manch­ester were the last dio­ce­ses to vote be­fore the dead­line on 22 May. All three voted in favour. Only the Dio­cese in Europe was un­able to ar­range a vote be­fore the dead­line.

The dio­ce­ses of Chich­ester and Lon­don, which voted against the pro­pos­als in 2011, have voted in favour of the cur­rent leg­is­la­tion al­though the Bishop of Chich­ester, 22 of his clergy and 20 laity voted against. Chich­ester has held a ser­vice in the cathe­dral to mark the 20th an­niver­sary of the first women priests.

Hi­lary Cot­ton, chair of WATCH, hailed the dioce­san votes in favour of women bish­ops. “This is re­ally, re­ally good news in the lead-up to the Fi­nal Ap­proval vote,” she said.

“In most dio­ce­ses over 90 per cent of votes were cast in favour: surely Gen­eral Synod can­not turn their backs on this again?”

For­ward in Faith rec­om­mended that its mem­bers vote against the Mea­sure and Canon in dioce­san syn­ods in or­der to be faith­ful to their the­o­log­i­cal con­vic­tions but it stressed that in mak­ing this rec­om­men­da­tion it was not seek­ing to hin­der a fi­nal res­o­lu­tion of the is­sue.

Meet­ing at Bish­opthorpe Palace, York, the House of Bish­ops voted to ex­plore with po­lit­i­cal par­ties the pos­si­bil­ity of fast-track­ing women bish­ops into the Lords.

The House also ap­proved the Dec­la­ra­tion on the Min­istry of Bish­ops and Priests, which sets out the ar­range­ments for those parishes who on the­o­log­i­cal grounds are un­able to ac­cept the min­istry of women priests or bish­ops.

The House voted to amend their own stand­ing or­ders to en­sure that the Dec­la­ra­tion can­not be amended with­out a ma­jor­ity of two-thirds in each house of Gen­eral Synod.

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