Church of England general synod rejects women bishops

Key points

  • The Church of England's general synod has voted against appointing women as bishops.
  • Campaign group Women and the Church called it "a devastating blow" for the Church and the people of England.
  • The next Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, earlier called on the synod to approve the measure.
  • The House of Bishops is expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss "how we go forward as a Church".

Live text


  • Trevor Timpson 
  • Alex Kleiderman 
  • Sarah Bell 

Last updated 20 November 2012

BREAKING 2037 Breaking News

Lucy Winkett, rector of St James's Piccadilly, was expected to become one of the first women bishops. Writing on the Guardian website, she says the vote result was a "disaster" for the Church.


Hello, and welcome to our live coverage of the general synod's vote on women bishops. The Church of England's governing body is due to start voting on the measure, which would make it lawful for women to be consecrated to the office of bishop, from 17.30 GMT.


Earlier, the next Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Rev Justin Welby, backed the appointment of women bishops, saying it was "time to finish the job" which started with appointing women priests 20 years ago.


Remaining divisions in the synod centre on whether concessions - under which parishes objecting to women bishops can request to be placed under a stand-in male bishop - go far enough, or too far.


The issue continues to divide traditionalists - among those on the Church's evangelical and Anglo-catholic wings - from reformers. Bishops and clergy are expected to achieve the necessary two-thirds majorities in favour of the motion, but the lay members' vote may be tight.


The question of women bishops is just one of the contentious issues the new Archbishop of Canterbury faces when he takes over the post in March. Here, our religious correspondent, Robert Pigott, examines the challenges ahead for the Rt Rev Justin Welby.


Archbishop John Sentamu, chairing the dabte, says 100 speeches have been heard.


Dr Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, asks if members want the debate to continue - and cuts the limit on speeches to 30 seconds.

TWEET 1714

Fiona Barnett in Hampshire

tweets: I'm boggling that anyone can argue against women bishops in the name of one of history's greatest proponents of equality and respect. #synod


A delegate urges members: "We know it's not perfect... but please vote Yes."


Another delegate says: "No-one has ever told me they won't come to church if we don't have female bishops.... This legislation is not right."