SORROW, dismay, distress, and grief: the words were repeated by
bishop after bishop as they left the Synod chamber after the
Many warned of the consequences for
the Church in wider society. Several have organised open meetings
and services for clergy in the next few days, to reflect on the
Some clergy who had campaigned for a
yes vote, including the Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, described the
result as a "vote for irrelevance".
The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd
Stephen Cottrell said: "There's a risk the national Church will
become a national embarrassment."
The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd
Mike Hill, said it was "disastrous", and that he and others would
find it "difficult to process our disappointment in the days
AMONG the first to welcome the outcome
was the Revd Rod Thomas, chairman of Reform, a conservative
Evangelical group. "We thank God that the Church of England has
avoided making a big mistake which would have led to real division
and a less inclusive Church.
"The Synod's decision shows respect
for the issues of conscience involved. It has avoided putting
significant minorities who, as faithful Anglicans, seek to follow
the Bible's teaching, into an impossible position. . .
"We stand ready for any discussions
that our future Archbishop may wish to initiate, and happily commit
ourselves to approaching these positively."
The Catholic Group on General Synod
said that it regretted that Synod had been put in the position
whereby draft legislation failed at final approval "because it was
unclear and unfair in its provision for those who, in conscience,
are unable to accept the ministry of women as bishops or
It called on the House of Bishops to
reconvene the talks started in the summer between representatives
of different groups, chaired by the Bishop of Durham.
"The Catholic Group is committed to
playing a full part in the process of achieving good legislation to
enable us all to move forward together in mission and service to
The Ven. Michael Lawson, who chairs
the Church of England Evangelical Council, said that the Church
should not be criticised for being out of touch. "The truer
criticism could well be that we failed to attend to God's work in
"As the CEEC has warned on many
occasions, one of the reasons for the outcome of the vote will have
been the weak and inadequate approach to provision for those who
could not accept the possibility of the ordination of women to the
Forward in Faith said that it had not
been surprised by the vote, "as it has been apparent for some time
that it lacked any consensus across the whole of the Church of
The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin
Warner, who is also master of the College of Guardians of the
shrine at Walsingham, said: "We pray for the wisdom and the
humility to remain attentive to each other within the Church of
England as we seek to understand how the future will now
ANGLICAN Churches overseas where women
are already consecrated bishop reacted with disappointment to the
The Rt Revd Jane Alexander, one of
five female bishops in the Church of Canada, said: "It's incredibly
disappointing. For me, once you've taken the step to say that women
can be in ordained positions of leadership, as deacons and priests,
it follows for me that they can be bishops as well."
The Rt Revd Victoria Matthews, of
Christchurch, New Zealand, said she was "gutted" by the vote. She
described the decision as a "product of fear".