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Diocesan synods approve women-bishops legislation

07 March 2014

GUILDFORD DIOCESE

All in favour: members of the Diocese of Guildford's diocesan synod vote for the General Synod's women bishops legislation

All in favour: members of the Diocese of Guildford's diocesan synod vote for the General Synod's women bishops legislation

THE first four diocesan synods to consider the women-bishops legislation referred by the General Synod have voted overwhelmingly in favour.

All of the bishops in the dioceses of Chelmsford, Guildford, St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, and Ripon & Leeds voted in favour. Across the four dioceses, 94 per cent of clergy and laity also voted in favour. In St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, 100 per cent of all Houses voted in favour.

Last month, the General Synod voted to suspend a Standing Order so that reference of the Draft Measure and Draft Canon to the dioceses, under Article 8 of the Constitution, could be concluded within three months rather than six. This means that final approval could be given in July.

In Chelmsford, on Saturday, 86 per cent of members of the diocesan synod approved the legislation. Seven of the 50 clergy voted against it, and 11 of the 55 laity.

The motion was introduced by the Archdeacon of Colchester, the Ven. Annette Cooper: "There is no theological reason why this exciting development cannot take place. We now have before us a simple structure that enables this alongside a package of provisions for those who are unable to accept it."

The Vicar of Harold Wood, the Revd David Banting, spoke against the motion. He encouraged "all conservatives and traditionalists, Evangelical or Catholic, in our conscientious opposition".

On Tuesday, he said: "We are already being told that, in reality, a conservative Evangelical bishop is simply unappointable as a diocesan or suffragan."

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