08/02/2013

Women Clergy Attend First Bishops' Meetings

Women clergy are to attend Church of England bishops’ meetings for the first time.

It has been reported that at least eight senior women clergy, such as deans and archdeacons, are to participate as non-voting members of the House of Bishops.

The Church of England has made the move in response to the defeat of attempts to create women bishops.

Legislation was proposed to allow women to become bishops, but was defeated at the general synod in November. The Church is thought to be reconsidering the issue.

Supporters have blamed the defeat on a failure by the House of Bishops to consult women clergy over the drafting of the legislation to include exemptions for traditionalists who do not want to serve under women bishops.

The legislation would have needed a two-thirds majority support in each of the synod's three houses; bishops, clergy and laity.

It fell short by six votes in the House of Laity.

Now at least eight senior women clergy are to participate as non-voting members of the House of Bishops.

BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott has commented on the matter.

He said the Church was facing the challenge of rectifying what he called an "embarrassing failure" when the issue returns to the synod in July.

It is expected bishops will make sure women clergy are included in drafting new proposals, and seen to be included.

(IT)

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