By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor of The Telegraph
The Church of England has been plunged into its biggest crisis for decades after the General Synod rejected women bishops despite overwhelming support for the change.
In a knife-edge decision at a special sitting of the Synod in London, bishops and clergy voted through the change by large majorities.
But the measure failed to secure the required two thirds support among representatives of the laity by just 6 votes. Although 324 members of the Synod voted in favour of the change, 124 voted against and 11 abstained.
The result was met with dismay in the Synod chamber at Church House in Westminster. Twitter also reacted with anger with many Christians saying they were ‘ashamed’ to be part of the Church of England. It comes despite huge support for the measure in the Church of England and could open the way to years of acrimony and recriminations.
A total of 42 of the church’s 44 dioceses have given backing to women bishops in a lengthy consultation exercise as part of a tortuous 12-year legal process.