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Push for female bishops falls short in Church of England

Published November 20, 2012 4:20 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In the U.S., Episcopal women may become bishops – Utah's Carolyn Tanner Irish was one — but the Church of England voted Tuesday against giving British women the same right.

The move to allow women to serve as Anglican bishops was defeated by six votes, just under the necessary two-thirds majority among lay members of the General Synod, according to The Associated Press.

The group that had pushed for the legislation, Women and the Church, was "absolutely devastated," the group's leader, the Rev. Rachel Weir, told AP. "Not just devastated on behalf of clergy women — obviously this will be an enormous blow to clergy women, it's awful for their morale — but it's a disaster for the Church of England."

The change had to be approved by all three synods, bishops, priests and lay members. It easily passed the first two, but got snagged among the laity.

"The truth is that without women in leadership we are no longer able to serve the people in the parishes of England," Bishop James Jones of Liverpool told AP. "Women serve as leaders in scripture, on the mission field and as supreme governor and in this General Synod."

It is ironic that the church's supreme head is, you guessed it, a woman: Queen Elizabeth II.

Peggy Fletcher Stack