The Church of England General Synod voted against allowing women bishops in what the Archbishop of Canterbury called "a missed opportunity".Read the full story ›
Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said he "can well understand that feeling of rejection and unhappiness" that women may be feeling towards the institutional Church after today's result.
Rev Prebendary Rod Thomas, the chairman of the conservative evangelical grouping Reform - which recommended a no vote - concluded the General Synod's decision on women bishops is "very good news for the Church of England".
The Plymouth vicar said, "We have avoided what could have been a disastrous mistake for our unity and witness".
The defeat came in spite of a series of appeals from senior Bishops in the Church for the Synod to back final approval for the legislation.
Sources close to Culture Secretary Maria Miller said tonight:
Whilst this is a matter for the church, its very disappointing.
As we seek to help women fulfil their potential throughout society this ruling would suggest the church is at the very least behind the times.
Campaign group Together4ward, which was set up by the Church Society to encourage a no vote, said its members are "reflecting on and praying about" the outcome of the General Synod vote.
"We are, however, pleased that Synod has chosen not to pass the Women Bishops Measure in its current form, which we believe would not have allowed the Church to go forward together", it added.
The group said it will make a fuller statement "in due course".
The majority of British people are in favour of the Church of England allowing women to become bishops, according to the latest ITV News Index Poll carried out by ComRes.
Of those people asked:
- 67% voted in favour
- 13% voted against
- 20% said they did not know
ComRes interviewed 2,055 adults online from 16-18 November.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has spoken of his "deep personal sadness" after the General Synod voted not to approve legislation introducing the first women bishops.
Dr Williams, who after a decade in office leaves his post at the end of this year, said there had been a "missed opportunity" which was "a great burden".
He wished the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Rev Justin Welby, "every blessing" with resolving the issue.
"Of course I hoped and prayed that this particular business would be at another stage before I left, and course it is a personal sadness, a deep personal sadness that that is not the case," the Archbishop said.
"I can only wish the Synod and the Archbishop all good things and every blessing with resolving this in the shortest possible time", he added.
Former Home Secretary Jacquie Smith said of the Church of England:
Sick of waiting for the established church to come in line with every other major inst. Disestablish - they don't represent my country.
The incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Rev Justin Welby, looks on as Dr Rowan Williams, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, is hugged after the General Synod fails to approve draft legislation introducing the first female bishops.