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Queen calls for unity at Church of England general synod

Queen speaking at opening of Church general synod Image copyright PA

The Queen has called for unity among Christians at the opening of the Church of England's national assembly.

She said the previous synod would be remembered for approving legislation to enable women to be bishops - a move which had long been disputed by many traditionalists.

The Queen's address comes at a difficult time for the Church, which faces a dispute over funding reforms.

She said members would have to "grapple with difficult issues".

The general synod, which governs the Church, passed new rules to allow women to become bishops in November last year.

The move ended centuries of male leadership of the Church and was 20 years after women first became priests.

Some people within the church are against the change. They say tradition dictates that only men should hold the most senior positions.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Queen spoke with Bishop of Stockport, the Right Reverend Libby Lane - the Church's first female bishop

On this synod's agenda is Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's reform and renewal programme.

There is expected to be a wrangle between modernisers who advocate a redistribution of funding away from failing rural churches and reactionaries who oppose reform.

The Queen, who is supreme governor of the Church of England, said: "The last synod will be particularly remembered for the way in which, after prolonged reflection and conversation, even in the midst of disagreements, it was able to approve the legislation to enable women to be consecrated as bishops.

"This new synod too will have to grapple with the difficult issues confronting our Church and world. On some of these there will be different views."

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