Bishop’s prayer “that I might have some women colleagues in the College of Bishops next year”

PUBLISHED: 22:01 09 March 2014 | UPDATED: 22:01 09 March 2014

Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway

Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway

Archant

The Bishop of Ely has welcomed the possibility of working alongside women bishops as the Diocese of Ely prepares to put a fresh set of proposals to the vote.

A new piece of draft legislation is currently being considered by the Church of England which would allow women to take up the position of bishop, something they have not been able to do since the church’s inception.

The Diocese of Ely is due to vote on the draft legislation on Saturday, with their comments and vote sent back to the church’s governing body, the General Synod, for consideration before a final vote is taken in York, in July.

In an open address to parishioners this week, Bishop Stephen Conway, said: “My prayer is that I might have women colleagues in the College of Bishops next year and the opportunity still to praise God for the committed and flourishing ministry of thoroughly Anglican churches of a different view.

“I am being careful not to presume that the legislation will pass. What General Synod has done is to agree the wording and the process with a great degree of common purpose.

“The Synod has determined that the final approval debate and vote will happen at the meeting of General Synod in York this July. There was no appetite for any further delay.

“All diocesan synods have to debate the current draft legislation, with a clear majority of dioceses voting in favour. After last time, this is not likely to be an issue.

“For us, this means that we shall have our debate and vote at our meeting of Diocesan Synod on March 15.”

Similar legislation was introduced in November 2012 but was rejected by the church by just six votes because of fears that parishes would not be given a choice over whether they could refuse to have a woman as their bishop.

In the new legislation, however, a series of measures have been put in place which will offer guidance for parishes which reject female ministry and an ombudsmen will be established to settle in the case of disputes.

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