Today, the General Synod for the Church of England rejectedthe ordination of women bishops by a mere handful of votes. So ends for now a nearly 12 year legislative process to upend standards for episcopal office. Much of the controversy surrounded the provision of stand-in bishops for parishes opposed to women’s ordination.
Passage of the ordination innovations required a 2/3 majority in all houses. The votes were 44 for and two against in the house of bishops, 148 for and 45 against in the house of clergy, and 132 for and 74 against in the house of laity. The vote in the house of laity, at 64%, was just short of the required majority.
Some British Anglicans hoped the passage of this motion would be another step of enlightened progress. They also worry about the cultural image this will grant the Church in modern British society with its failure. The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams himself voiced outspoken support. A minority breathes a sigh of relief. This group–primarily made up of Anglo-Catholics and other High Churchmen–was concerned about the ecumenical ramifications that may portend from ordinal novelties, the validity of female apostleship, a rupture with traditional interpretation, and a trespass against scriptural obedience.