The decision not to allow women to be ordained as bishops has rocked the Church of England. Its leaders have reconvened at the General Synod for talks this morning after last night’s damning vote where the two-thirds majority needed to make it happen wasn’t achieved.

The Reverend Justin Welby, currently  the Bishop of Durham nd soon to be Archbishop of Canterbury who’s still urged the Synod to vote for women bishops. And last night, the disappointment felt across the C of E was palpable. Afterwards he said himself it was a ‘very grim day’.

Rev Rachel Weir says

"We are absolutely devastated actually. I am from the campaigning group Women and the Church, we have been campaigning for this for 15 years and the Church itself has been discussing this piece of legislation for 10 years and the whole thing for a generation and it's lost by a handful of votes in one House. Overall 75, 74 percent of the votes casted were in favour, so you know, we've got something badly wrong in the Church of England that we can't actually deliver this after all this time."

Rev Stephen France says

"I think there was just stunned silence in the Synod at the end of a ten year process where you have got to the point where four votes mean the difference between having women bishops today and not. We have become almost irrelevant to the society and the communities which we are trying to represent and minister to if we don't reflect some of the nature of women in roles of leadership which is otherwise throughout the Church and state."

It’s not sure where the talks today will lead the Church of England, but we know that a vote of this kind won’t happen again for several years. Rowan Wlliams (the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury) is set to give a farewell speech to the Synod today and it’s expected he’ll touch upon what he’s already called his ‘sadness’ about last night’s vote.

 

Written and presented by Marverine Cole