Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - Church of England votes against women bishops in narrow loss

Women bishops will not be welcomed into the Church of England after The General Synod decided to stick with tradition in yesterday’s narrow vote.

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 21 November

Church of England votes against women bishops in narrow loss


Women bishops will not be welcomed into the Church of England after The General Synod decided to stick with tradition in yesterday’s narrow vote.

Following an intense seven-hour debate, the electronic vote took only a minute to complete. Both the House of Bishops and the House of Clergy voted in favour of the move, which was ultimately halted by the House of Laity.

The House of Laity, the largest group of the General Synod, consists of lay members of the church who are elected by the 44 dioceses. Only six more votes from this group would have been needed for the motion to pass.

The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, shared his disappointment with the BBC. He said: "Of course I hoped and prayed that this particular business would be at another stage before I left, and... it is a personal sadness, a deep personal sadness that that is not the case.”

Justin Welby - the current Bishop of Durham, who will take over the Archbishop’s role at the end of this year - responded to the result on Twitter by saying: “Very grim day, most of all for women priests and supporters, need to surround all with prayer & love and co-operate with our healing God.”

However, Synod member Susie Leafe said that the outcome was because of faults in legislation. She told the BBC: "There were a lot of places along the way that we could have had a measure in front of us that wouldn't have been voted down, and it's very sad that this was able to go on without us facing the reality of the situation."

It has been nearly 20 years since the Church voted in favour of female priests, who now make up a third of the clergy, but it seems that theological divisions still remain.

For more background, see our earlier story.


Questions for discussion


General Discussion

  • Do you think there are some jobs that only men should do and some jobs only women should do?
  • In your opinion, do men make better leaders than women? Why/why not?
  • Can you think of any other examples in our society of men and women not being treated equally?
  • Is there anything we could do to make our school a more equal place?

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In the news this week


The governing body of the Church of England is due to vote on whether it will allow women to become bishops – or continue debating the issue for several more years.

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