Church in Wales to vote on women bishops

[Church in Wales press release] The Church in Wales will decide in September whether or not to allow women priests to be ordained as bishops.

A bill, proposed by the six diocesan bishops of the Church in Wales, will be voted on by the 144 members of the church’s legislative arm, the Governing Body, at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, at Lampeter, on Thursday, Sept. 12.

The bill will need a two-thirds majority in each of the three sections of the Governing Body – the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity – in order to be passed. However, if it is passed, it will not come into effect until a second bill, outlining a scheme of provision for those who cannot accept women bishops, is written and passed.

The process will start with a vote on three proposed amendments to the bill.

Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan said: “Since we ordain women as deacons and priests it makes no theological sense not to ordain them as bishops since we believe in the three fold order of ministry. That is why I and my fellow bishops will be asking members of the Governing Body to vote in favor of the bill. It would not be able to come into effect immediately but at least we would have established the principle to which I believe most people in the church assent.”

This will be the bishops’ second attempt to pass a bill to ordain women as bishops. Their first bill was defeated in April 2008 when it failed, by three votes, to secure a two-thirds majority in the House of Clergy.

The two-day Governing Body meeting begins Sept. 11 at 1.30 p.m. with an address by the president, the archbishop of Wales. The Bill to enable the Consecration of Women as Bishops will be introduced on Sept. 12 at 9.30 a.m.

The bill and its proposed amendments, as well as the full agenda of the Governing Body meeting, will be on the Church in Wales website after Aug. 28 here.

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