The Lutheran World Federation has welcomed the decision by the Church of England to consecrate women as bishops, for its potential to enrich church life and in particular “for its immediate consequences in ecumenical relations”.
Though women are primarily involved as advisers, spouses and fringe participants at the male-dominated Lambeth Conference this year, in future the number of women bishops will grow and one might well be presiding Archbishop.
Great emotion greeted the decision this evening by the General Synod of the Church of England, its governing body, to confirm the Church’s intention to consecrate women as bishops – a historic move following women's ordination in 1994.
Male clergy, deans, retired bishops and lay members of the Church of England are being urged to sign an online petition calling for legislation to end discrimination against women in the Church and allow the appointment of women bishops.
The Church in Wales yesterday rejected a Bill which would have allowed women to be ordained as bishops. The measure was voted down by just three votes. Archbishop Barry Morgan spoke of his “deep disappointment”.
Members of the Church of England's General Synod have been told that it is 'highly unlikely' that a vote to allow women to become bishops will be taken before 2010. In the meantime the UK Parliament will continue to be the only democracy in the world with places exclusively reserved for men.