West Country clergy have reacted with dismay to the decision by the governing body of the Church of England not to allow women bishops. One bishop told us he was depressed by the outcome, which he said made the church look foolish.
Although a majority of delegates voted for the change, it didn't receive a big enough majoirty among congregation members. Today a West Country MP raised the issue in Parliament.
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.
The Bishop of Bristol has called the General Synod’s failure to agree legislation that enables women to become bishops in the Church of England “disastrous”.
I regard the outcome of today’s debate as disastrous. Whilst I have never believed it necessary for anyone to leave the Church on the basis of the Measure before us today, others clearly took another view.
It will be very difficult for those of us who have supported the ordination of women bishops to process our disappointment in the days ahead. My prayers are with the many people who are hurting, particularly women in our churches and those within and outside the Church who are bemused and disillusioned by such a failure.