CofE and female bishops: Eventually, perhaps, but not before 2015

Under the headline “General Synod votes to restart the legislative process to allow women to become bishops” the Church of England has published a media release that begins:

The General Synod has reaffirmed its commitment to women bishops and called, less than a year after the previous proposals were rejected, for new draft legislation to be introduced. It will be considered by the Synod in November 2013, with the aim of reaching the stage of Final Approval in July or November 2015.

This was the first time Synod members had met since November 2012, when the previous draft legislation narrowly failed to secure the requisite majority in the House of Laity, despite enjoying the support of 73% of the Synod’s members overall.

The Synod reached its decision at the end of this today’s debate, after its members had devoted much of Saturday to facilitated discussions on the options available. Introducing the debate, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, who chaired the Working Group set up by the House of Bishops to advise on new legislative proposals, said, “I believe that option one, together with a mandatory mediation process and including as it does a declaration or, possibly, Act of Synod deserves to be taken very seriously as a means to provide the basis for securing the necessary majorities in the lifetime of this Synod.”

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