News / Europe

Church of England Paves Way for Women Bishops in 2014

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu (L), speaks next to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the General Synod in Church House in central London, England, Nov. 20, 2013
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu (L), speaks next to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the General Synod in Church House in central London, England, Nov. 20, 2013
Reuters
The Church of England's governing body voted overwhelmingly in favor of female bishops on Wednesday, ending a 20-year impasse that could see women ordained as senior clergy by the end of 2014.
 
A vote on a package of measures to endorse women bishops was supported by 378 members of the General Synod while eight voted against and 25 abstained after months of behind-the-scenes talks to unite reformers and traditionalists.
 
A year ago, a blocking minority succeeded in rejecting draft legislation on women bishops, leaving the church in crisis. That vote, lost by just six votes, was criticized by parliament and one senior church official called it a “train crash”.
 
After that, church leaders set up a committee to find common ground. Its proposals won widespread acceptance in the Synod on Wednesday, even among groups previously opposed.
 
“The train is on the tracks, the train is moving forwards, and we now have some stations to pass along the way but we can begin to see the end of this particular journey,” the Bishop of Rochester James Langstaff told a news conference.
 
The legislation will be discussed again at a meeting in February and a vote on final approval is likely in 2014.
 
The issue of female clergy has divided global Anglicanism. Women serve as bishops in the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand but Anglican churches in many developing countries do not even ordain them as priests.
 
Critics of female clergy say Jesus chose only men as his apostles, while supporters say it is a matter of equality.
 
The spiritual head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, supports women bishops but has struggled to unite the mother church for the world's 80 million Anglicans on the issue.
 
A woman in Canterbury
 
Last year's draft legislation failed mainly due to concerns that a code of practice to cater for parishes that objected to women bishops did not go far enough.
 
The new recommendations would create an independent official who can intervene when traditionalist parishes complain about women bishops' authority, and guidelines for parishes whose congregations reject women's ministry.
 
Those in favor of the plans were warned not to “open the champagne bottles” just yet as there were still major issues to be resolved.
 
Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament: “I strongly support women bishops and hope the Church of England takes this key step to ensure its place as a modern Church in touch with our society.”
 
Even many traditionalists acknowledged it was time for change and to end the deadlock. Paul Benfield, of the Synod's Anglo-Catholic group, said it was “a workable way forward”.
 
The Church approved the ordination of women priests in 1992, but delayed making them bishops because of opposition within its previously all-male clergy. Bishops play a key role in many Christian churches because only they can ordain new clergy.
 
Amanda Fairclough, a priest from Liverpool, said she had “no doubt one day a woman will be called by God to be the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid