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Synod: Road now clear for women bishops

21 November 2014

Women bishops


Last act: Synod members vote on Monday

Last act: Synod members vote on Monday

IT WAS a largely symbolic and somewhat archaic process, by which the Measure to enable women to be consecrated as bishops was formally incorporated into English Law on Monday afternoon.

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, told the Synod that the Royal Assent and Licence to "make, promulge, and execute" the Canon had been given.

The Synod had three steps to take, after which the House of Bishops would meet later that evening to make its Regulations formally. The first was that the Registrar would read the instrument of enactment. After this, the Synod would, without debate, on a show of hands, vote to show its will "that the Canon entitled 'Amending Canon No. 33' be made, promulged, and executed".

If this vote was passed with a simple majority, the Archbishop said, the six officers of the Synod (the two Archbishops, the Prolocutors of the House of Clergy, and the chair and vice-chair of the House of Laity) would then sign the "instrument of enactment" in which they "declare and testify our consent to the said Canon".

After the formal reading of the instrument, a clear majority of the Synod voted in favour of the Amending Canon. They then sat in silence as the document was passed along the top table for signature.

And so the legislative process was over in minutes. Women can now be consecrated as bishops in the Church of England; but cannot be appointed to the dioceses of Sodor & Man or Winchester, which includes the Channel Islands. It was explained during Questions on Monday evening that the Measure would not take effect in Sodor & Man and the Channel Islands until legislation was passed by the Tynwald and the Channel Islands' legislatures.

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