Inclusive Church responds to the General Synod vote on Women Bishops
Inclusive Church deeply regrets that General Synod did not approve the Measure that would have allowed women to become bishops in the Church of England.
We hope that church leaders will take urgent action to bring forward new legislation and to restore public confidence in the Church.
Dianna Gwilliams, Chair of Inclusive Church said:
"I'm personally disappointed that this legislation did not receive the necessary majority in the House of Laity of General Synod. It is clear that the Houses of Clergy and Bishops, along with 42 out of 44 Diocesan Synods believed that the legislation was the best fit.
This debate is not about women. It is about the nature of our church and her leadership. I pray that as we continue to listen prayerfully to each other God will grant courage to all women and men who, together, are providing courageous leadership in our church."
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WATCH response to the decision:
The vote in General Synod is a devastating blow for the Church of England and the people of this country. It is a missed opportunity for a whole generation to see women and men sharing fully in the mission, ministry and leadership of the Church of England.
There is overwhelming support for women bishops in both in the church and in the country at large. We have been discussing this issue for a generation and working on the details of this compromise legislation for over ten years. 42 out of 44 dioceses supported the draft Measure: 75% of all votes were cast in favour.
Almost 73% of General Synod members voted in favour of women bishops. Both the House of Bishops and the House of Clergy voted overwhelmingly in support, but the Measure narrowly fell in the House of Laity where it failed to reach the required 2/3 majority: by 6 votes.
In the coming weeks, bishops will need to act promptly to offer pastoral support to women clergy and others who will feel devastated by this outcome.
The General Synod clearly needs to look again at how it represents the will of the people in the pews.
Our Christianity calls us to the future and not the past. WATCH will continue to work towards a future for the Church of England where the gifts and callings of women and men are equally recognised and valued.
The Reverend Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH and trustee of Inclsuive Church said,
"This is a tragic day for the Church of England after so many years of debate and after all our attempts at compromise. Despite this disappointing setback, WATCH will continue to campaign for the full acceptance of women’s gifts of leadership in the Church’s life.”