Bishop of Ely backs adjournment amid row over ordination of women bishops

THE Bishop of Ely, the Right Revd Stephen Conway, lent his support to the General Synod’s decision to adjourn a debate on new legislation that could allow women to be ordained as bishops.

In a statement issued at the end of Monday’s General Synod meeting in York, Bishop Conway said: “When a big issue looms, even when we are confident in our own mind what the best action would be, it is not always easy to uncover the language which will deliver assent.”

The Synod voted by 288 votes to 144 to adjourn the debate, after protests from pro-women campaigners.

The campaigners rejected a late amendment to the draft law that would have allowed parishes which did not accept women bishops to request a male bishop, known as Clause 5.

Bishop Conway said that the House of Bishops had “acted in good faith to find the language to enable this measure to gain assent after all these years of work and prayer.”

The Bishop said that the gathered church needed “time for further reflection and round table discussion to find another firm of words for Clause 5. 1(c)” without, the Bishop warned, “intensifying any sense of discrimination.”

Bishop Conway believes that “the adjournment which the Synod has agreed to is at no cost to anyone” and that “I am hopeful that we can move forward together in mission in a covenant of trust which God will provide.”

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A new vote on the legislation is likely to be held in November.