Church of England paved way for the appointment of female bishops

Nov 18, 2014 15:47 IST

The Church of England on 17 November 2014 broke the centuries-old tradition by paving the way for the appointment of female bishops.

The vote at the general synod meeting at Westminster Church House in central London gave the final seal of approval to a legislation passed through UK Parliament in October 2014. The first female bishop is expected to take her seat in 2015.

The amendment to Canon 33 of the Church of England now states that a man or a woman may be consecrated to the office of bishop. The legislation comes 20 years after the women were ordained as priests.

The new 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.

There are other women bishops in Australia, Canada, Cuba, India, New Zealand, Swaziland, South Africa and the USA.

In 1994, 1500 women deacons were ordained as priests. However in 2005, a motion to begin the process of removing the legal obstacles to appointment of women as bishops was approved by the General Synod.

In 2011, 42 out of 44 dioceses approved draft legislation to introduce women bishops. But in 2012, the legislation failed narrowly at the General Synod by just six votes in the House of Laity.

In 2014, General Synod asked for the second time to give final approval to legislation introducing women bishops.


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