Sheffield synod votes in favour of women bishops

Dr Steven Bishop of Sheffield
Dr Steven Bishop of Sheffield

REPRESENTATIVES of the Anglican Church in the Sheffield region have voted in support of women bishops.

A motion was carried by 37 votes to 28 with six abstentions. The Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, voted in favour at a meeting of the Sheffield Diocesan Synod last Saturday.

The outcome indicated the laity was more convinced that the clergy. Laity voted 23-16 in favour with one abstention, clergy 13-12 with five abstentions.

All 44 dioceses in the Church of England must vote before November. If a majority of the diocesan synods give consent, approval will rest with the General Synod, likely to be in July 2012, and finally with Parliament. The earliest that the first woman could be consecrated as a bishop is in 2014.

Bishop Steven said: “Personally, I have been convinced for many years of the rightness of ordaining women as deacons, priests and bishops.

“That conviction has deepened through many years study of the scriptures and, latterly through reflection on the nature of the church and on God’s mission in the contemporary world.”

Sheffield also passed a motion 42-23 put by Jane Patterson, a member of the General Synod and the Hallam deanery, which would ask the General Synod to ensure there are safeguards in terms of access to like-minded bishops to reflect the views of people unable to accept the ministry of women bishops on theological grounds.