Every diocese backs women bishop plans
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.