The Church of England has held an historic vote at its General Synod meeting in London.
The question was: should women be allowed to become bishops?
And the answer was no, guaranteeing continuing internal strife over the issue that has divided the Church of the world’s 80 million Anglicans for years.
Bishops and clergy backed the change but lay members of the Synod couldn’t decide and were four votes short of a majority.
There were tears as it became clear there would not be another vote for 5 years. “A lot of the discussion today it’s felt, personally, that it hasn’t been against women bishops it has been against women priests which when you’re saying this things, you’re surrounded by women in dog collars, is a hard thing to hear,” Reverend Sally Hitchiner told reporters outside the Synod meeting.
“I know him who calls me and that call is not dependent on people who are prejudiced, deeply prejudiced about women,” added the Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin.
Women already serve as Anglican bishops in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States but the dispute between reformers and traditionalists has prevented their introduction in the UK.