The Church of England’s national assembly is to restart attempts to introduce women bishops following the defeat of legislation last year.

If the new proposals are backed by members of the General Synod it could pave the way for the final approval of female bishops by 2015.

The new scheme would make allowances for traditionalists who oppose women bishops, but there would no longer be any dioceses where none of the serving bishops ordains women as priests.

Under the plans, the bishops would be asked to draw up arrangements for opponents.

Final approval could be given to the new legislation by either July or November 2015 – with the first female bishop appointed possibly by 2016.

Earlier legislation to introduce women bishops was derailed by a minority of lay members of the General Synod meeting in November amid widespread recrimination and anger.

The bishops said the new proposals they backed – known as “option one” out of four set out by a working group – would “rely least on law and place the greatest emphasis on trust”.


The Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev Justin Welby referred on Friday to the “significant absence of trust” between different groups within the General Synod over the issue.

The debate comes after members held “facilitated conversations” with experts on mediation and conflict management this weekend in an attempt to end the impasse over women bishops.

Pro-women campaigners said they backed the new proposals laid out in “option one.”

The Rev Lindsay Southern, based in Catterick with Tunstall in North Yorks, and a member of the group Women and the Church, said: “It is the best deal on the table and it affirms the ministry and the ordination of men and women and it will be the simplest and most straightforward solution.”

But Martin Dales, spokesman for the Catholic Group at the Synod, accused the bishops of rushing to solve the problem.

“I think there is a perception that perhaps this seems more based around the Westminster Village, with Church House around the corner and the bishops in the House of Lords and all the rest of it, that there needs to be an unseemly rush to sort this matter out,” he said.

“In fact there needs to be considerable thought and reflection on what actually happened in November and why.”

source: skynews