Church of England says no to female bishops

LONDON — The Church of England’s governing body on Tuesday narrowly blocked a move to permit women to serve as bishops, leaving the church facing more years of contentious debate.

Following a day-long debate on Tuesday, opponents mustered enough support to deny the necessary two-thirds majority among lay members of the General Synod.

The defeat was a setback for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who retires at the end of December, and his successor, Bishop Justin Welby. Both had strongly endorsed a proposed compromise that they had hoped would end decades of debate.

Passage of legislation to allow women to serve as bishops must be approved by two-thirds majorities in the synod’s three houses: bishops, priests and laity. Synod members were voting on the latest compromise which calls for church leaders to “respect” the position of parishes that oppose female bishops — without saying exactly what “respect” means.

The vote was 132 in favor and 74 against. In separate votes, bishops voted 44-3 in favor with 2 abstentions, and clergy voted 148-45 in favor.

Church officials say it may take five years to go through the process of taking new legislation to a final vote.

In the day-long debate, many speakers expressed regret that they were unable to agree on a way forward.

“Whatever the outcome, there is no victory in the coming days. It is a train crash,” said Rev. Angus MacLeay, summing up for the opposition.

Sister churches of the Anglican Communion in Australia, New Zealand and the United States already have women serving as bishops.

Southern Africa joined that group on Sunday with the consecration of Ellinah Wamukoya as the Anglican bishop of Swaziland.

More in Local News

Inslee’s budget solves school funding with help from carbon

His budget would use reserves to boost education, then replenish them with a carbon tax or fee.

Man, 29, injured by shots fired at Everett thrift store

The gunfire followed an argument in the parking lot of Value Village on Evergreen Way.

Police: He made an appointment, then tried to rob the bank

A lawyer is accused of donning a fake beard and telling a teller that a gunman was outside.

Lynnwood robbery leads to lockdown at Edmonds schools

Edmonds police said it was just a precaution as they search around Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Marysville 7-Eleven hit by armed robbers

Officers set up a perimeter and brought in a police dog, but the man couldn’t be found.

In adult court, four teens plead not guilty to murder

Prosecutors allege they worked together to plan and execute a drug robbery in Everett.

2 women struck, injured while crossing busy roads

The first happened Wednesday night in Everett. The second was Thursday morning in Edmonds.

Lives were on the line

After an estimated 350K emergency calls over 35 years, dispatcher Steve Williams is set to retire.

Drive-by shooting reported in Marysville neighborhood

Police said there was no evidence to indicate it was targeted at a specific person or property.

Most Read