All dioceses say 'yes' to women bishops

A female bishop could be consecrated before the end of the year.PA

All dioceses in the Church of England have now voted in favour of draft legislation that will allow women to become bishops.

The General Synod, which took place in London in February, voted to fast-track the legislation; reducing the period of consultation in the dioceses from six months to three, ending on May 22.

The final diocesan vote occurred yesterday in Manchester, where clergy and laity both voted overwhelmingly in favour of the motion with a majority of 82 yes votes to 14 No's, with 4 abstentions.

The draft legislation will now go before the General Synod once again in July for a final vote. If it passes the vote by a majority, as is expected, then it is possible that a female Bishop will be appointed before the end of the year.

Chair of lobby group Women and the Church (WATCH) Hilary Cotton has expressed her delight at the outcome of the Manchester vote.

"This is really, really good news in the lead-up to the Final Approval vote," she said. "In most dioceses over 90 per cent of votes were cast in favour; surely General Synod cannot turn their backs on this again?"

James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester and Chair of the Steering Committee for the Draft Legislation for Women in the Episcopate, has also given a statement. "The dioceses have now expressed their view very clearly and the matter now comes back to General Synod in July," he says.

"I pray that the Synod will continue to approach this decision in a prayerful and generous way as we move towards voting on the proposal that women may be bishops in the Church of England."