Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Church of England says yes to women bishops

15 July 2014, 08:05

London - The Church of England ended one of its longest and most divisive disputes Monday with an overwhelming vote in favor of allowing women to become bishops.

The church's national assembly, known as the General Synod, voted for the historic measure, reaching the required two-thirds majority in each of its three different houses. In total, 351 members of the three houses approved of the move. Only 72 voted against and 10 abstained.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the long-awaited change marks the completion of a process that started more than 20 years ago with the ordination of women as priests. He called for tolerance and love for those traditionalists who disagree with the decision.

"As delighted as I am for the outcome of this vote I am also mindful of whose within the church for whom the result will be difficult and a cause of sorrow," he said in a statement.

British Prime Minister David Cameron called it a "great day for the Church and for equality."

Opponents argued that allowing women into such a senior position in the church goes against the Bible. Others warned that the church should not be guided by secular ethics.

Lay member Lorna Ashworth, who did not support the move, said the church has entered new territory. "This is something we have to work out as we go along," she said.

The Church of England represents diverse religious groups from conservative evangelicals to supporters of gay marriage. Major changes can take years, even decades to bring about.

Two years ago similar legislation narrowly failed to reach the two-thirds majority with lay members, despite the approval from bishops and clergy.

After that vote failed, the church worked to build trust with its lay members, who lagged behind church leaders on the question of female bishops, and make the legislation more acceptable to opponents.

At the same time the church came under increasing pressure from the outside to reform in favor of women. Some of those who changed their vote this time around said they did not want to block changes the majority was happy with.

Monday's vote marks the latest advance of women in the church hierarchy.

The General Synod ruled in 1975 there was no fundamental objection to women becoming priests, but it took nearly two decades for the first women to be ordained.

Things are likely to move faster for aspiring female bishops. Welby told the BBC he expects the first woman bishop in the Church of England by next year.

He was less sure when asked if there will be a female Archbishop of Canterbury in his lifetime: "I've no idea. I'd be delighted if I did."

The Church of England was established by King Henry VIII who appointed himself as its head in 1534. The government still formally appoints the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the church, and Queen Elizabeth II serves as its supreme governor.

Parliament maintains a role in church affairs, and will be called upon to ratify the female bishop legislation. Some 26 bishops are allocated seats in the House of Lords.

The Church of England is part of the global Anglican Communion with 77 million members in more than 160 countries. The Episcopal Church in the Unites States was the first member to have a woman bishop and is now led by a woman.

- AP

Tags religion

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Natural aphrodisiacs to boost lib...

It is advisable to take them before sex in order to achieve maximum benefit. Read more...

Submitted by
Man defiles girlfriend’s daughter

The two-year-old girl sustained serious injuries due to the forceful penetration. Read more...

Submitted by
Bernard Lugagah
How your birth order affects your...

Mismatched birth orders may be the simple reason you and your significant other don’t seem to get along.  Read more...

Submitted by
Jayne Zack
Raila has lost his remaining bull...

He added that Jubilee and Cord are like day and night. Read more...

Submitted by
Gabriel Ngallah
Changamwe OCPD collapses, dies in...

He had complained of some pain in his body around 11am. Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Mudavadi of no value to CORD, say...

Leader of Majority in National Assembly, Adan Duale has said that ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi is of no value to CORD. Read more...