Church of England says no to women bishops

The Church of England was in turmoil after narrowly voting against the ordination of women bishops in a major setback for efforts to modernise the mother church of millions of Anglicans worldwide.

In its biggest crossroads moment since backing the introduction of women priests 20 years ago, just enough lay members of England’s state church went against their bishops’ wishes and voted against the measure.

Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, said the church was now at risk of becoming a “national embarrassment”. The legislation needed a two-thirds majority among each of the three houses in the General Synod, the church’s governing body.

But though the bishops and the clergy comfortably cleared the threshold, the legislation fell short by just six voters among the laity. The bishops voted 44 in favour and three against, while two abstained (89.8 per cent). The clergy voted 148 in favour, 45 against, with no abstentions (76.7 per cent).

However, the ordinary members voted 132 in favour and 74 against with no abstentions (64.1 per cent) — six votes shy of the threshold.

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