Church of England panel pushes for women bishops' proposal at 2013 synod

(Photo Credit: Church of England)The Church of England General Synod meets in an undated file photo.

A Church of England panel said on Thursday there was a need to restart the process to allow women to become bishops in the church at the next meeting of the General Synod in July 2013.

The C of E's Archbishops' Council - which includes the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the chairs of the House of Clergy and the Chairs of the House of Laity - met on Tuesday and Wednesday.

They considered a wide agenda with substantial time focused on the General Synod's recent vote to narrowly reject the inclusion of women in the episcopate.

The council recommended that the Church's House of Bishops, which meets in two weeks, put in place a clear process for discussions in the New Year to bring legislative proposals before the synod in July.

While more than the required two thirds of bishops and two thirds of clergy representatives were in favor of inclusion , the votes by laity representatives fell just short. The 19-member Council acts as the standing committee of the General Synod, in addition to other responsibilities.

"As part of their reflections, many council members commented on the deep degree of sadness and shock that they had felt as a result of the vote and also of the need to affirm all women serving the church - both lay and ordained - in their ministries," the Archbishops Council said in statement released by the church.

"In its discussions the Council decided that a process to admit women to the episcopate needed to be restarted at the next meeting of the General Synod in July 2013," they added.

The bishops agreed the C of E had to resolve the matter through its own process "as a matter of urgency."

Correction: An article on November 29, 2012 incorrectly stated the Archbishops' Council made a statement about its agenda of November 27-28 on Wednesday. The statement was made on Thursday.

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