(Liv. Church) Prudence Dailey on the Church of England and Women Bishops–How Did We Get Here?

During an emotional debate in July 2008, however, every one of those proposals was in turn rejected by the Synod in favour of a simple Code of Practice, as supporters of women bishops expressed fears that the proposals for greater accommodation, enshrined in legislation, would result in women becoming “second-class” bishops, and assured the Synod that legislative provision should not be required if only we would all “trust the bishops.”

The Rt. Rev. Stephen Venner, then Bishop of Dover, a supporter of women as bishops, and generally regarded as a liberal, was in tears as he said that

for the first time in my life I feel ashamed. We have talked for hours about wanting to give an honourable place to those who disagree; we have been given opportunities for both views to flourish; we have turned down almost every realistic opportunity for the views of those who are opposed to flourish; … and we still talk the talk of being inclusive and generous.

Both archbishops were clearly dismayed; at the end of the debate, the Archbishop of Canterbury abstained on the motion to proceed to the next stage.

In July 2010, the archbishops attempted to salvage the situation by bringing forward an amendment to introduce “coordinate jurisdiction.” Whilst an overall majority of Synod members supported the amendment, it fell in the House of Clergy by just five votes.

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