The gloves are off in the Church of England after the vote that rejected women bishops.  PETER FROST reports.


Thousands of women – and a good few men – in the Church of England are so disgusted by the recent Synod vote against women bishops they are voting with their feet and leaving jobs, volunteer posts, and even congregations.

Nearly a third of Church of England clergy are women.  Indeed last year almost half of new ordinations were women. Out in the parishes women make up much more than half the active church community.

Women vicars are particularly unhappy with the solid stained glass ceiling that has stopped all hope of career progress for them.

Not all angry Christians are taking the Synod vote lying down. More militant sections are saying they will take the matter to another vote at the next Synod.

The new vote will not have the concessions of the last proposals to allow dissident anti women bishop Christians to opt out and have a male bishop in their diocese.

The new proposals will insist all diocese will have the potential to appoint female bishops.

This proposal will be framed in a way that will demand only a straight majority, not the two thirds that lost the last vote by just a tiny majority.

Putting the matter this way will also get around the three or five year delay rules that cover votes on identical proposals.

However if the next Synod passes the new proposals and allows women bishops then experts believe the Church will go into complete meltdown and even disestablishment is being predicted.

Meanwhile people like former Labour Minister Frank Field and many others are asking why the Church should be exempted from equality legislation that applies to all other employers and organisations.

Many MP’s are threatening to bring in new legislation making gender discrimination illegal in the church as it is everywhere else.

Some female ministers in the Church are planning to go further. They say they will take their employers the Church of England to the EU courts in Brussels.

It the do there is no doubt they will win their case. But will Cameron, and his new Archbishop of Canterbury accept the Brussels ruling?

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