Bristol vote of no confidence in General Synod

The Church of England General Synod voted down legislation to allow women bishops at its November meetingPA

The Bristol Diocesan Synod has called on the Church of England to move forward with "great urgency" on allowing women bishops.

A vote of no confidence in General Synod was passed by 51 members, with three votes against and no abstentions.

It comes after the Church of England General Synod voted down legislation to allow women bishops despite a majority of General Synod members and dioceses supporting the measure.

Although the principle of women bishops has been agreed, there has been strong disagreement over how this should happen and what provision should be made for traditionalists who cannot accept it for reasons of conscience.

The Bristol motion reaffirms the "strong conviction" that women should be bishops and calls upon General Synod to explore every avenue to move the process forward.

The Bishop of Bristol, the Right Reverend Mike Hill said: "There have been no ten days in my ministry quite like the last ten days.

"To make a masterful understatement, the current situation does not feel good.

"I wholeheartedly believe that the ministry of the Church of England will remain underdeveloped until we get women bishops.

"We would get a new and different perspective within the episcopate and I believe that new and different perspective would be a gift to the present House of Bishops and to the wider Church.

"It is certainly a gift I, personally, would love to receive."

The motion was proposed by the Vicar of St Matthew's and St Nathanael's, Kingsdown, the Reverend Mat Ineson, who insisted it was not a vote of no confidence in individual Synod members but in the systems of Synod and the processes to reflect the will of the wider Church on the issue.

"The system has failed the people and urgently needs fixing," he said.

The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England agreed at a meeting this week that the process to allow women into the episcopate should be restarted at the next meeting of the General Synod in July 2013.

The House of Bishops will also be meeting in the coming weeks to agree on how to take discussions forward in the New Year, with a view to presenting fresh legislative proposals before the July Synod.

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