Church of England Synod to vote on women Bishops

The Church of England Synod is to meet today to vote on women Bishops. Credit: Press Association

Today the Church of England Synod is meeting to debate a crucial vote which, if supported, could see women Bishops in England by Christmas

The 470 members of the General Synod are meeting in London to debate proposals to fast track legislation to allow women to become Bishops. The speeded up timetable, if accepted, would mean the proposals would be voted on in July and could become law as early as November.

It hasn't always been a straight forward process. In November last year it was a very different story. The 'yes' vote failed to get through and left many disillusioned and lost.

The row has been going on for decades since the Church agreed to ordain women priests in 1994.

The opponents are mainly Evangelicals who believe the Bible teaches the church should be led by men and Anglo Catholics don't want to see any change in the well-steeped traditions of the church.

However, since the shock of the November vote last year, the tone of the debate has changed and there seems to be a sense of compromise among the Synod.

The draft proposals include safeguards for the opponents which would allow them to request male priests and Bishops to look after them if they wish. And so far, both sides seem to be agreed.

Christina Rees (Laity member) said: "fast track is not the word I would use, we have been campaigning for women Bishops for decades. I really hope we vote 'yes' and we can push this through. A majority of people want this."

One member of the Synod said: "It now about getting on with it and sealing the deal."

If the deal is sealed it will be a significant step for the Church of England and a 'yes' vote supporting to fast track the proposals could see the end of the Church's longest running saga.