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Williams to make statement after women bishops vote

Dr Rowan Williams, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Dr Rowan Williams is due to speak as the Church's national assembly gathers after the legislation failed to gain the necessary two thirds majority amongst lay members.

His statement will come after an emergency meeting of the Church of England bishops following the narrow defeat.

Bishop vote 'unexpected' for many

The Chichester Diocese has released the following statement following the Synod vote not to allow women bishops.

"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

"The decision of the General Synod not to vote in favour of the women bishops legislation has been a devastating and unexpected blow to many people.

"There was a palpable sense of shock and rejection felt by many I spoke to in the chamber after the vote, especially among women priests. I have no doubt that this will be replicated in parishes across the diocese of Chichester.

"It would be premature to attempt any analysis of why the vote went the way it did, or what the future now holds. The outcome, however, is profoundly disturbing for us all.

"It clearly indicates that something is amiss within the life of our Church and we shall have to work hard to identify what that is in order to put our house in order. The House of Bishops will meet early this morning to begin that process.

"Meanwhile, I hope that we shall be sensitive to each other's feelings in our public and private observations about this development. The way we do that will be evidence to a sceptical world and press of the sincerity of our Christian discipleship.

"Please pray particularly for Archbishop Rowan Williams and his successor, Bishop Justin Welby as they reflect upon what has occurred and the future that now confronts us.

"With thanks for our partnership in the gospel."

– Bishop of Chichester and Master of the College of Guardians, Dr Martin Warner