Dr Rowan Williams warns on bishops vote

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The Independent Online

The Church of England has backed sending legislation on women bishops to a final vote next week as the Archbishop of Canterbury warned it was "looking into the abyss" over the issue.

Members of the bishops, clergy and laity of the Church of England's national assembly, the General Synod, yesterday voted to send the legislation for further discussion on Monday amid continuing divisions over the plans.

Earlier, Dr Rowan Williams urged clergy and bishops from the Canterbury diocese to approve the legislation in order for it to be debated further on Monday.

He warned that defeat at this stage would mean the legislation could not return for debate until a new General Synod had been elected in 2015. "We are looking into the abyss now," he warned.

"Like the majority of members of the synod, and the majority of the members of the Church of England, I am very firmly of the view that we need to proceed as speedily as we can to resolve this question because I, like most of you, long to see women bishops in the Church of England," he said.