Women clergy to attend Church of England bishops' meetings

Cross and clothing of Church of England bishop Planned legislation intended to pave the way for women bishops was rejected last year

The bishops who lead the Church of England are to include female clergy in their meetings for the first time.

At least eight senior women clergy, such as deans and archdeacons, will participate as non-voting members of the House of Bishops.

The move is in response to the defeat of attempts to create women bishops.

Proposed legislation failed to win the backing of the Church's ruling general synod in November. The Church will reconsider the issue in the summer.

Supporters of the change partly blamed the defeat on a failure by the House of Bishops to consult women clergy about the best way to draft the legislation to include exemptions for traditionalists who do not want to serve under women bishops.

The proposed legislation needed to gain two-thirds majority support in each of the synod's three houses - bishops, clergy and laity - but fell short by six votes in the House of Laity.

In the latest move, at least eight senior women clergy will participate as non-voting members of the House of Bishops until such time as at least six women bishops have been appointed and joined the group by right.

BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said: "Amid the bitter recriminations that followed the defeat by the Church's ruling synod last year of legislation to introduce women bishops, its all-male House of Bishops received the lion's share of the blame.

"In particular, their decision to introduce increased exemptions for traditionalists late in the legislative process was regarded by many in the Church as the main reason for the defeat of the draft law last summer."

Our correspondent added that with pressure mounting on the Church to rectify an "embarrassing failure" when the issue returns to the synod in July, bishops are determined to make sure women clergy are included in drafting new proposals, and seen to be included.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    @241. RayCraig

    It's amusing the way some religious people try to use science sometimes to justify their anti-science views? That 99% you mentioned were the result of half a billion years of evolution,i thought you didnt believe in that? You're also, it seems, hinting towards some kind of christian jihad against gay people! I feel you are clutching at straws now. Will you report this comment too?

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    241. RayCraig
    "when "Husband & Wife" become thingy & thingy, you may find that hetro's...may get angry towards your community, the vote may backfire"

    That's a similar argument to that employed by the Lords Spiritual when they were arguing against the abolition of slavery. They said that freed slaves would slaughter their former masters. It was silly when they used it, and it's still silly now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    As usual with the good old Beeb....any opportunity to open the forum for people to attack Christianity!
    I think the church is behind the times on equality with women bishops....but hey, it's a got a lot more going for it when it comes to worshipping with equality than the muslims have - men and women aren't even allowed to worship together, and how many women clerics are there??

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    Some very interesting and informed posts on here today but the issue is should there be women bishops. As I do not attend church, although I see myself as christian, I think it really is up to those who attend church to decide. At the end of the day, whatever the outcome, congregations will vote with their feet one way or the other. It is like politics but there will be no going back after 5 years

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    C of E didn't even get it's first black Bishop until 1985 (Wilfred Wood). I'm afraid that equality for women let alone those of non heterosexual orientation has a long wait yet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    When do we get to have the conversation in parliament about the absoloute abolition of any and all exemptions and preferences based on religion and the removal of clergy from the Lords?

    I find it obnoxious to be quite frank. You can believe what you want privately but if at all possible I would like my laws based on fact and rational thought please.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    Worship? That has to be one of the most loaded words in history.

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    One can only hope actresses are not too put out by this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    @194, I did say that society & Church is going down the Pan, we should all look to Christ
    @213, Since 99% of everything that lived is now extinct, they didn't like the post flood earth very much.
    @Swing Lowe, In 2 years time when "Husband & Wife" become thingy & thingy, you may find that hetro's who would still like to be Husband & wife may get angry towards your community, the vote may backfire.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    2 Minutes ago
    “The original Hebrew testament mentioned God and His wife. (if you go back further it mentioned many Gods but that was all changed)”

    You are right early religions had lot of GODs then it developed into few GODs, with advancement of religion it became one GOD However in very advanced religions you will find no GOD(s); just cause and effect

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    "The truth is, you can't prove anything. None of us can. Even your scientist fairy Gods in sky can prove nought."
    Sir Isaac Newton (& Wile E. Coyote) says that if u stand below me and I drop a boulder on u, gravity will bring it down on u.

    What is a scientific fact?
    It is a set of measurable experiments, which when replicated, produce the same results.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    Steve84 - Which piers did you use - Wigan or Brighton? LOL

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    @ GravityBeckons

    If thinking your god makes you feel better, then I am very happy for you. I am sorry I can't worship you as I already worship another. But thank you for the offer and good luck with the whole god thing. i hear the girls just love guys who say they are god!

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    Churchgoers who are in favour of women bishops etc. should boycott the church until they get their act together. Empty churches might bring the changes quicker. There will be no need for male bishops either if there is no congregation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.


    Ummm - I work in science.
    Infact my job title has 'scientist' in it.
    I'm actually on my lab computer right now waiting for my samples to finish their 2hr incubation period.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    @ 63. RayCraig, do yourself a favour, and check all the debunking arguements on youtube, regarding man and dinosaurs walking the earth together, its a lie. Simple as.

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    @alexicon Liberty_Rose: Maths and science are unprovable. Science is fallible, true only until proven wrong

    Oh dear! I would debate this, but I can't prove you exist so it would be delusional to bother.

    You can't prove you exist either, Alexicon . The truth is, you can't prove anything. None of us can. Even your scientist fairy Gods in sky can prove nought.

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    219. mlewis

    Science doesnt profess to knowing everything in fact it starts with the premise it knows nothing! Religion meanwhile professes to being irrevocable, immutable and incontestable truth and that's the difference. The trouble here is that overly religious people set science up in opposition to faith. It's like saying the opposite of up is sideways, or that black is opposite to grey.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    218 - alexicon
    Yes, and isn't it a pity that ALL religions don't stand up and declare their discrimination?

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    @223 "Oh and their book pre-dates yours!"

    It took the 'invention' of paper to write any books at all, lol. Without the scientific method to refine it such a tool would not even have come into use.

    "None of you have personally conducted scientific experiments to prove the "facts"
    I did and most others did... in school science class... and I learned the truth of some very basic laws of phys/chem.


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