The voting results at the General Synod of the Church of England gave its final approval for women to become bishops in the Church of England. The General Synod is the Church’s governing body, and for the motion to succeed it required a two-thirds majority in the synod’s three houses: the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity.
The voting results were as follows:
House of Bishops: Yes 37 No 2 Abstentions 1
House of Clergy: Yes 162 No 25 Abstentions 4
House of Laity: Yes 152 No 45 Abstentions 5
This shows that a total of 351 members of the Synod's three different houses had voted in favor of the measure, while 72 voted against and 10 abstained.
Even before today’s decision, already other Churches in the Anglican Communion in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Southern Africa have ordained women bishops, but the Church of England’s decision takes on particular significance because of its historic and leading position in the worldwide Anglican Communion which has some 80 million members.
"Today is the completion of what was begun over 20 years ago with the ordination of women as priests. I am delighted with today's result," said Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans.
Today's vote comes 18 months after the proposal was last voted upon in November 2012 when the proposal failed to achieve the required two-third majority in the House of Laity.
There are still some formalities to be completed before the reform is implemented. It will need to be approved by Parliament and the Queen of England who is formally the head of the Church of England, before it goes back to the General Synod for definitive approval in November. According to Archbishop Justin Welby, the first female episcopal ordination could take place early next year./.