In the November 20th Globe and Mail article, “Church of England to hold emergency meeting after female bishops rejected”, Bishop Jane calls the vote to defeat legislation that would allow female bishops in the Church of England “incredibly disappointing”. She adds that for her, “once you’ve taken the step to say that women can be in ordained positions of leadership, as deacons and priests, it follows for me that they can be bishops as well.”
There are more than 3,500 female priests in Britain and Bishop Jane is one of five female bishops in the Anglican Church of Canada. The Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews became the first female bishop in Canada when she was consecrated the Ninth Bishop of Edmonton in 1997.
The motion was passed by more than two-thirds of the bishops and the House of Clergy, but was six votes short of the two-thirds majority it also required among laity in order to become legislation. Forty-two out of 44 dioceses approved the legislation and more than three-quarters of members of diocesan synods voted in favour.
It will be at least five years, when a new General Synod is convened, before a proposal to allow female bishops in the Church of England can be considered again. Even if approved, the motion would require the consent of parliament, taking at least two more years.
The House of Bishops, which voted 44-3 in favour, meets today to discuss how to proceed.