The Diocese of Birmingham voted last Saturday in favour of women in the episcopate of the Church of England.
Press Statement Monday 14th March 2011 from Women and the Church (WATCH)
Massive Support for Women Bishops Legislation in Birmingham
WATCH is delighted by the result of the first Diocesan vote on the law that will allow women to become bishops in the Church of England. In Birmingham on Saturday the Diocesan Synod voted by 75 to 4 in favour of the legislation with its accompanying provisions for those who will not accept women as bishops. To make that endorsement even more clear, two motions that asked for even more provisions for those opposed were defeated, with only a small minority of people voting for them.
Hilary Cotton, WATCH Vice Chair and Head of Campaign, said, ‘This indicates two things to us: firstly, that people in Birmingham want the Church to get on with making women bishops as soon as possible and, secondly, they are satisfied with the provision that this legislation makes for those who will not accept women bishops.’
Hilary Cotton: Campaign Co-ordinator – Home: 01483856827 Mobile: 07793817058
Sally Barnes: Media Officer – Home: 020 8731 0960 Mobile 07759343335
Notes for Editors
WATCH (Women and the Church) is a voluntary organisation of women and men who are campaigning to see women take their place alongside men without discrimination and at every level in the Church of England. This requires the removal of current legal obstacles to the consecration of women as bishops. WATCH believes that the full equality of women and men in the Church is part of God’s will for all people, and reflects the inclusive heart of the Christian scripture and tradition.
The Church Times carried a report on 18 March, Women: yes-vote taken in Birmingham.
THE diocese of Birmingham has voted overwhelmingly in favour of the draft legislation to allow women to become bishops.
Birmingham is the first diocese to vote on the legislation, which was passed by the General Synod to dioceses last year (News, 16 July).
The vote in Birmingham, last Saturday, was 74 to four in favour of the legislation with its current provisions for those who do not accept women as bishops. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, and the Bishop of Aston, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, both voted in favour.
The legislation had been considered in deanery synods in the diocese before last weekend’s vote, and two additional motions emerged from these debates, both asking for increased provisions and safeguards for opponents. These were also defeated, however, by a large majority, attracting just a handful of votes in support.
Dr Rachel Jepson, a member of Birmingham’s diocesan synod and a member of the General Synod, said that the vote was significant. “The quality of debate in deanery synods and in diocesan synod was very good, with good listening as well. People have had the opportunity to say what they think, but it’s good to have that decision behind us now so we can move forward.”
The organisation Women and the Church (WATCH) said that it expects the Birmingham vote to be replayed in the majority of dioceses.
The vice-chair of WATCH, Hilary Cotton, said: “This indicates two things to us: first, that people in Birmingham want the Church to get on with making women bishops as soon as possible; and, second, they are satisfied with the provision that this legislation makes for those who will not accept women bishops.”
Many dioceses will hold their votes on the legislation this autumn. If a majority approve it, it will return to the General Synod in 2012 for final drafting, with a final-approval vote expected in July 2012.