‘Deep sadness’ after bishop bid is blocked

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There’s a sense of deep disappointment among Dacorum’s clergy after defeat for a bid to allow women to become Church of England bishops.

The vote narrowly missed out on victory, with clergy representatives backing the move but lay people rejecting the idea.

Rev Jenny Hill, who is the advisor for the ministry of women in the Diocese of St Albans, said: “Many of my female colleagues in Hemel Hempstead and across the diocese are deeply disappointed. A vast majority of people in the church wanted this to happen.”

Rev Hill said that traditionalists who insist that only men can take on the role have beliefs rooted in a time when women had a lesser place in society.

“Women are being called to be bishops but they can’t fulfil their calling because of the way decisions have to be arranged,” she said.

“Unless there’s a way of bringing the issue back to the Synod in the short term, it will take another five years for it to be reconsidered – it took 12 years to get to this point in the first place.”

The Rt Rev Alan Smith, the bishop of St Albans, also expressed his disappointment. He said: “We know that the vast majority of people in the diocese were in favour and the vote will be a cause for deep sadness. We need time to reflect on what has happened

Chair of Churches Together in Hemel Hempstead Rev John Quill said he was gobsmacked by the result. He said: “It’s not just a women’s issue, it’s an equality issue.”

See Letters, page 12, and 
let us know what you think about the vote – email thegazette@jpress.co.uk