Vote lost in the laity.
Breaking News: Church of England votes no on Women Bishops. Vote is no in the laity. "Walked it," in clergy and bishops. The vote may have been as close as six votes in the laity.
Earlier: Following #Synod on #Twitter as the Church of England Synod prepares to vote on women bishops. You can follow the conversation on Twitter here at the cafe over in the right column. Stay tuned for updates!
Statement from the Church of England:
The General Synod of the Church of England has voted to reject the draft legislation to allow women to become bishops.
Under the requirements of the Synod the legislation required a two-thirds majority in each of the three voting houses for final draft approval. Whilst more than two thirds voted for the legislation in both the House of Bishops (44-03) and the House of Clergy (148-45), the vote in favour of the legislation in the House of Laity was less than two-thirds (132-74). The vote in the House of Laity fell short of approval by six votes.
In total 324 members of the General Synod voted to approve the legislation and 122 voted to reject it.
The consequence of the "no" vote of terminating any further consideration of the draft legislation means that it will not be possible to introduce draft legislation in the same terms until a new General Synod comes into being in 2015, unless the 'Group of Six' (the Archbishops, the Prolocutors and the Chair and Vice Chair of the House of Laity) give permission and report to the Synod why they have done so.
Speaking after the vote the Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, said: "A clear majority of the General Synod today voted in favour of the legislation to consecrate women as Bishops. But the bar of approval is set very high in this Synod. Two-thirds of each house has to approve the legislation for it to pass. This ensures the majority is overwhelming. The majority in the house of laity was not quite enough. This leaves us with a problem. 42 out of 44 dioceses approved the legislation and more than three quarters of members of diocesan synods voted in favour. There will be many who wonder why the General Synod expressed its mind so differently.
"The House of Bishops recognises that the Church of England has expressed its mind that women should be consecrated as bishops. There is now an urgent task to find a fresh way forward to which so many of those who were opposed have pledged themselves."
The House of Bishops of the Church of England will meet at 08.30am on Wednesday morning in emergency session to consider the consequences of the vote.
Exact voting figures will be found here
What I am hearing is that there is indeed consensus in the Church of England to affirm women as bishops, but it is still not clear (or clear enough) on the procedures for "roll-out," as it were. What will be the pastoral care provisions for traditionalists? It is not clear if the provisions were communicated well (or well enough) to the local vestries and lay leadership (called Parochial Church Councils in England) prior to Synod.
One could see why those provisions might be kept on the quiet side. Provisions for traditionalists have a way of inflaming those who see this issue as a basic human right rather than a sound biblical theological position. How can the church make provision for those who oppose equality, they might ask and the discourse can become hostile quickly. The traditionalist minority on the other hand need assurances that their historic view of the episcopate is respected and that perhaps was not affirmed.
That tension (affirming women in the episcopate while affirming provision for the traditionalist minority) has not bode well in The Episcopal Church and that witness has chilled many in the Church of England. It might be wise for us all on this side of the Big Pond to pray earnestly - that this is not an issue of politics, of the church now following culture, but one based on sound biblical theology that includes a commitment to compassionate pastoral care for those that dissent.