The Church of England could name its first female bishop by Christmas if the General Synod votes to remove the barrier to women in February.
Such a vote would then need to be ratified by a majority of the Dioceses and by Parliament. If all that happens by November, a woman could be named Bishop by Christmas.
Already there is speculation as to who that first woman might be.
William Fittall, secretary general of the church’s governing body, the General Synod, said that if the synod voted as expected at its next meeting, in February, the arrangements to promote women could become law in November after being approved by the dioceses and then by parliament.
The committee that chooses bishops has a meeting scheduled for December. If the legislation has been approved by then, the committee is almost certain to choose a female candidate for one of the six posts currently free.
Christina Rees, one of the synod’s most prominent campaigners for female clergy, said of next month’s vote: “I think it will sail through.” She added: “I expect the first woman bishop to be named and appointed before Christmas.”