In a historic move, Church of England allows women to become bishops
Church of England has broken the centuries-old tradition by paving the way for the appointment of female bishops. It is considered as a historic move towards widening female participation in the Church. Final seal of approval to this legislation which was passed by UK Parliament in October 2014 was given by the vote at the general synod meeting held at Westminster Church House in central London.
The general synod is the law-making body of the Church of England. As per this new legislation, the first female bishop is expected to take her seat in 2015.
The amendment to Canon 33 of the Church of England, now clearly mentions that a man or a woman may be consecrated to the office of bishop. The legislation comes 20 years after the women were ordained as priests.
The new legislation also includes some safeguards to manage dissent, such as the introduction of an independent reviewer who will oversee arrangements for parishes who want oversight from a male bishop.
There are women bishops in countries like Australia, Canada, Cuba, India, New Zealand, Swaziland, South Africa and the USA.
Women priests were ordained in 1994 but to date they have not been able to take on the Church’s most senior roles. Divisions remain between Anglicans who feel it is consistent with their faith and traditionalists who disagree.
Earlier in 2012, a prior move to allow women to stand as bishops was defeated in 2012 by six votes cast by lay members of the general synod.
In 2014, General Synod was asked for the second time to give final approval to legislation introducing women bishops.