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Church Of England Votes Against Introducing Female Bishops

The Guardian, which followed the vote live, says whether to allow female bishops was the Church of England's biggest decision in 20 years.

A majority of the House of Bishops voted yes. A majority of the House of Clergy voted yes. But about 36 percent of The House of Laity, members elected by lay members of the church, voted no.

The measure needed a two-thirds majority in all three houses to pass.

The Guardian writes:

"It was a long day of debate, with over 100 speeches made and some points of view repeated a number of times. Broadly, speakers for the motion wanted women to be treated equally in the church and wanted Anglicans to set an example to the secular world in overcoming their differences. Those against felt the concept of female bishops could not be reconciled with scripture, and felt that compromise, for that reason, was not a Christian value.

"Some on both sides felt the compromise measure before the General Synod – under which women would become bishops but could delegate authority to a male bishop if their parish requested it – meant the motion was fatally flawed. Others, such as Justin Welby, who will take over from Rowan Williams as Archishop of Canterbury in the new year, said the compromise was 'as good as we can get'. He urged the synod to vote for the motion. Earlier, Williams, also in favour, had said he wanted the world to look at the Church today and say: 'That looks like Jesus Christ.'"

The AP says that new legislation "may take five years to go through the process of taking new legislation to a final vote."

"Sister churches of the Anglican Communion in Australia, New Zealand and the United States already have women serving as bishops," the AP adds. "Southern Africa joined that group on Sunday with the consecration of Ellinah Wamukoya as the Anglican bishop of Swaziland."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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