Synod must decide on women bishops

The General Synod of the Church of England is likely to be invited to decide the vexed question of allowing women bishops next summer, it emerged today.

The General Synod of the Church of England is likely to be invited to decide the vexed question of allowing women bishops next summer, it emerged today.

The development came as the House of Bishops working party on women in the episcopate published its long-awaited report into the controversial issue.

The working party looked at the options facing the church, and did not come down in favour of any of them.

The issue has continued to divide the Church. Its first female priests were ordained in 1994 and supporters of women bishops believe it is illogical to continue to bar them from the episcopate.

Opponents believe God ordained that a man should be at the head of every institution.

The options considered by the working party, headed by the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, range from maintaining the status quo, making specific arrangements within the Church for those who cannot conscientiously accept women bishops, or the creation of another province for such people.

A Church of England spokesman said: "The important theological issues covered by the Rochester Report will be debated by the Synod in February.

"The Synod will also have the opportunity, on the basis of a motion from the House of Bishops, to consider what the next steps should be.

"Synod will be invited to agree that, following a period of reflection on the report, there should be a decision at the July Synod on whether to embark on the process of removing the legal obstacles to ordaining women as bishops."

The report concludes with a plea for harmony within the Church.

It says: "This world will one day pass away and the ecclesiastical structures on which we expend so much time and energy, important though they are, will pass away with it.

"In the light of this fact, we need to give the highest priority to deepening the quality of our love for the other members of the body of Christ, perhaps especially those with whom we most strongly disagree on issues such as the ordination of women to the episcopate."

Dr Nazir-Ali told reporters later that if the Synod makes a decision in principle in favour of women bishops in July, it could ask for further proposals on legislation.

"From the point of introduction of legislation to that becoming law, there is a minimum of four years, if everything goes well," he said.

The working party had looked at how bishops emerged in the history of the Church, and how the ministry of women had emerged.

"We have done this with our Bibles open," he said.

"During the time the party was at work, it was 'quite difficult emotionally and psychologically' for people of opposing views to hear the other out," he said.

"But they did do so," he added.

Asked if the problem could be solved, he said: "We have tried to show in the report that it is a soluble problem, if the Church wants to make a decision that is not maintaining the status quo, that is.

"If the Church decides after due consideration to ordain women to the episcopate, we think it will be possible, given goodwill on every side, to maintain the unity of the Church."

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr David Hope, issued a statement welcoming the report, saying: "We are happy to commend it for prayerful study within the dioceses of the Church of England and to invite other Churches in the Anglican communion and our ecumenical partners to let us have their reflections on it."

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam