The general synod of the Church of England (CofE) has voted overwhelmingly in favour of a package of measures that will enable women to become ordained as bishops.
The proposals clear the way to allow a full vote in full synod in February, while the House of Bishops will also present a draft declaration, including proposals for a mandatory disputes resolution procedure, for discussion.
There were only eight votes against the measures and 25 abstentions, compared with 378 votes for, according to reports from the BBC.
In his letter to his diocese last year, the Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, welcomed the consensus in the synod. He said, ‘The sense of agreement by the majority of synod members over the package of proposals for women to be ordained as bishops was extremely encouraging and bodes well for the next stages.
‘I am hopeful that we may have found a way forward that, for the sake of our mission to the nation, keeps those opposed to this development in the mainstream rather than the margins of the CofE’.
Meanwhile, the more conservative streams of the CofE are seeking to balance their scriptural beliefs against the overarching belief that remaining in the Anglican Communion would be the best way to continue.
In a statement, the Church Society said, ‘There are various issues that need to be ironed out in the new proposed legislation, for this to be a truly credible and reliable statement, and for the gospel to flourish within the CofE.
‘Some helpful, positive steps have been taken, though significant worries remain for those who are not content to acknowledge the spiritual oversight of women bishops in good conscience.
‘Many also find it difficult to believe that their ministry is valued or encouraged when, unfortunately, there are currently no serving evangelical bishops who hold to the classic and historic teaching on this subject’.