Legislation to allow women of the Church of England to be appointed as bishops passed today. The BBC reports:
The Church of England has broken with centuries of tradition after its general synod amended church law to allow the appointment of female bishops. The first female bishop is expected to be installed in the new year.
The first four dioceses that could choose women as a senior bishop are Southwell & Nottingham, Oxford, Gloucester and Newcastle, although five other, more junior posts of suffragan bishop could be filled even sooner.
More on the vote from the BBC
In October, the Church said that positive discrimination could be used to install “under-represented” female bishops in diocese. Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, hailed the historic vote earlier this year as “the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases, disagreeing”.
But the latest step on the path towards the ordination of female bishops will not be universally welcomed. One body that opposes the move – the conservative evangelical group Reform – maintains that “the divine order of male headship” makes it “inappropriate” for women to lead dioceses.
Reform has estimated that there is at “least a quarter of the Church” who will find the development incompatible with their beliefs. The legislation includes some safeguards to manage dissent, such as the introduction of an independent reviewer who will oversee arrangements for parishes who want oversight from a male bishop.
Photo of the vote at Thinking Anglicans