Thursday, 3 July 2008

Women bishops row tops Synod agenda

Church of England General Synod members are gathering for a five-day meeting likely to be overshadowed by the divisive issue of women bishops.

Traditionalists are expected to clash with campaigners in favour of women bishops in key debates at the meeting of the Church's ruling body at the University of York.

The argument will centre on how far those clergy and parishioners who object to women bishops should have special arrangements, such as new "non-geographical" dioceses.

A House of Bishops motion will ask Synod members to back work on a national code of practice to cater for objectors.

Such a move would mean a repeal of legislation allowing parishes to vote against having a woman presiding over services in favour of arrangements set out in the code.

It would also mean ending the Act of Synod which allows for so-called "flying bishops" in the Church of England to minister to opponents of women priests.

Conservative Anglican groups such as Forward in Faith has said that without safeguards such as new dioceses for objectors the Church risks losing more than 1,000 clergy. Read more
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