England’s best-known cathedral and mother church of the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion. Photo by Trevor Grundy

Canterbury Cathedral is England’s best-known cathedral and mother church of the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion. Photo by Trevor Grundy

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CANTERBURY, England (RNS)  The decision by the Church in Wales to consecrate women bishops means the Church of England — the mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion — will be the last in Britain to admit women as bishops.

Cheers erupted in a hall at Lampeter, Ceredigion in Wales, when the 144-member governing body of the Welsh church announced the result of the vote on Thursday (Sept. 12). A similar bill failed narrowly in 2008.

Ireland and Scotland both allow female bishops though none have been elected yet.

“The Welsh vote means that the Church of England will be last to accept the inevitable — women as bishops probably by the year 2015,” said Christina Rees, a member of the archbishop of Canterbury’s advisory council, and a prominent campaigner for women bishops over the last three decades.

“It’s beyond embarrassing to think the Church of England — mother church of millions of Anglicans — will be last in line on this issue that should have been dealt with years ago,” she said.

Rees noted that a woman ordained in the Church of England is about to be consecrated as a bishop — not in the land of her birth, England, but in New Zealand. The Rev. Helen-Ann Hartley, 40, last week was elected the third woman bishop in New Zealand.

The General Synod, the Church of England’s governing body, will meet in London in November and is expected to clear the way for the consecration of women bishops in 2015.


  1. Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Christina Rees is a good “spinmeister” calling it “inevitable” that the Church of England will consecrate women as bishops in that Church. I’m sure she knows that in life only two things are “inevitable” :”Death and Taxes.” Or, considering the collapse of Christianity in the face of Islam, maybe what is “inevitable” is our granddaughters being forced to be clothed from head to foot Islamic style.
    And the media obliges by frequently trumpeting her OPINION on “inevitability” as fact. To add to the media spin pile-on virtually all the quotes in stories I have read on the consecration issue (including this one) only quote from people on the feminist side.
    No wonder the Church of England finds it so difficult to uphold ancient Church Traditions. It is David against the media’s Goliath.

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