Archbishop John Sentamu leaves York Minster after his enthronement service in 2005.

Church of England formally approves women bishops

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) Twenty years after women were ordained as priests, the Church of England is set to appoint its first woman bishop by year’s end or at the start of 2015.

On Monday (Nov. 17), the church’s two most senior leaders, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu, signed the change into church, or canon, law after asking the General Synod, made up of bishops, clergy and laity, to signal their approval by a show of hands.

Archbishop John Sentamu leaves York Minster after his enthronement service in 2005.

Archbishop John Sentamu leaves York Minster after his enthronement service in 2005.

The shattering of what’s called "the Church of England’s stained-glass window" marks the culmination of years of campaigning for reform.

In July, the synod, voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation to create women bishops.

Hilary Cotton, chairwoman of Women and the Church, an advocacy organization, told reporters she is now hopeful the reform will lead to "changing the culture of the church."

U.S.–born Christian Rees, a member of the synod’s House of Laity, said Monday’s ceremony would change the public perception that the Church of England has "a problem with women."

Speculation mounts on who will be the first woman to wear purple in a church so long divided on this issue, but no front-runner has emerged in reports coming from Canterbury.

Four contenders for the title of first woman bishop are Vivienne Faull, dean of York; June Osborne, dean of Salisbury; Canon Philippa Boardman, canon treasurer of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London; and Jane Hedges, dean of Norwich.



  1. I thought news stories(as opposed to opinion columns) were supposed to be fair. Yet this article repeatedly calls the actions of the Church of England as “reform.”
    However, there are very many who would call that Church’s actions as anything but a “reform”.. These include not only many Anglicans, but also many Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, Coptic, and Churches of the East

  2. “Reform: make changes in (something, typically a social, political, or economic institution or practice) in order to improve it.”

    Technically, since “improve” is subjective, it doesn’t matter, by the definition of “reform”, WHO considers it an improvement. As long as someone does (and people do in fact view it as an improvement), it counts as a “reform.” according to the English language. Thus, the use of the term does not itself disqualify a status of objectivity.

  3. Yeah. they’d probably call it damned liberalism and a radical departure from making sure hat women aren’t treated equally to men.

  4. “The shattering of what’s called “the Church of England’s stained-glass window” marks the culmination of years of campaigning for reform.”

    Atheists like myself are told repeatedly not to ‘cherry pick’ from the Bible. We are told it is unfair.

    But the truth is, there is no way to operate a church without cherry picking – and more of the Bible needs to be thrown away every year.

    Women Bishops? It is only possible if you dispose of all the verses about God’s hatred for women.

    (to his own mother!) (John 2:4)

    “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission..I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence” (1 Tim. 2:11-12).

    “Blessed are you, Lord God, Ruler of the Universe, who has not made me a woman.” — Jewish Morning Blessings, Siddur, p. 12.

    God hates women.
    Unless we pretend he doesn’t.
    The fact that we can pretend one way – and then go the other way if we want to – should indicate what religion is really worth.

    Just don’t tell me about how God’s laws are perfect and unchanging and timeless while a woman Bishop is permitted to be the one saying so. LOL 🙂

  5. Oh no, female clergy!! Quick, get the fainting couches and clutching pearls!

    All you are saying is that some people don’t like that sort of thing. Nothing to the effect of what they object to, why their objections should be taken seriously, or are relevant.

  6. That photo of Archbishop John Sentamu in his clownish vestments says it all.
    These guys/girls are not serious. If I had to choose a religious group, it would be the Salvation Army. They concentrate on actually trying to help people.

  7. “This article isn’t misogynistic enough to reinforce my sexist views! Wah wah wah!” Go cry me a river already.

  8. My comment was about the fairness of what is (erroneously) counted as news instead of what it is really-opinion.
    But one shouldn’t be surprised since most liberal- radical changes in our society have been fed and promoted by lies, distortion and fraud. The current one is the Gruber scandal revealing all the lies and distortions used to get Obamacare passed. And the MIT prof-fabricator’s take of taxpayer money was in the millions at last count (up from the 400,000 revealed last week.) But many may not have heard of it because much of the liberal media is shoving the story down George Orwell’s memory hole.
    I do object to Gruber referring to all voters as stupid (and thus helps liberals get their agenda passed, he claimed.} It is just the ones who regularly fall for the lies the left uses to promote their agenda in religion or politics who could be called “stupid”).

  9. as opposed to the ones who get their news from Fox.

  10. The whole purpose of having a free press is the hope it will be a watchdog keeping its eyes on government.
    FOX is doing its job. The rest of the media is busy groveling and toadying to government power.
    The latest media obscenity is its ignoring of the Gruber revelations and all the fraud, deceit, and lies behind obamacare’s passage. The guy even brags on videos about how they rigged things.
    Hopefully we won’t go back to the days when the media spoke (or didn’t speak) all in one tune. Although the Dan Rather robots probably wish otherwise.

  11. Why the church of england and the episcopal church is irrelevant.

  12. Well, what can you expect from a church that was started for the sake of Henry VIII’s hormonal happiness? The C of E has always been confused.

  13. You are so right. The garish clergy costumes are an external sign of inward and un-spiritual rot.

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