No women bishops – for now

There will be no female bishops in the Anglican Church of England for the time being. In a tumultuous session over the weekend, the Anglican General Synod, currently in session, voted against a compromise proposal from the two archbishops of Canterbury and York, Rowan Williams and John Sentamu.

The compromise called for a possible female bishop to be paired with a male bishop in her diocese for those congregations that reject female church leaders. In the decisive vote, the proposal fell just six votes short of approval, according to media reports. The vote confronts the Anglican Church in England with a new test of strength between the liberal wing led by Williams and Sentamu and the conservative forces. Before the vote, Williams and Sentamu had stressed that they would not take the vote as a show of loyalty to their own work. Williams, as spiritual leader of the Anglican Church of England, has long faced fierce criticism. In addition to the consecration of women bishops, the treatment of openly homosexual bishops is another point of contention. Even before the start of the General Synod, which runs through Tuesday, the possible nomination of the gay dean of St. Albans, Jeffrey John, to be new bishop of Southwark caused debate.

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Christina Cherry
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