THE Church of England is to relaunch the bid to admit women bishops at the earliest opportunity in July next year, it says in a statement.

The 19-strong Archbishops’ Council said it wanted to resolve the situation “as a matter of urgency” after the General Synod, the governing body of England’s state church, failed to pass the legislation on November 20.

“As part of their reflections, many council members commented on the deep degree of sadness and shock that they had felt as a result of the vote,” said the statement issued following a two-day meeting of the Synod’s standing committee.

“The council decided that a process to admit women to the episcopate needed to be restarted at the next meeting of the General Synod in July 2013.

“There was agreement that the Church of England had to resolve this matter through its own processes as a matter of urgency.”

The Church of England narrowly rejected the appointment of women bishops last week, triggering turmoil and setting back efforts to modernise the mother church of 85 million Anglicans worldwide.

In its biggest decision since backing the introduction of women priests 20 years ago, just enough lay members of the church voted against the measure to bring it down, following years of wrangling between traditionalists and liberals.