Today’s 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.
Today, 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 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.”