All four Bishops within the Lichfield Diocese have distanced themselves from the General Synod vote which rejected legislation to allow women to become bishops.
This came as the leading diocesan bishop, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, Bishop of Lichfield and a member of General Synod, attended an emergency meeting of all synod bishops, saying that he, like his colleagues, was determined to reverse this injustice.
He had voted in favour at the decision making process on Tuesday night to enable women to be bishops within the Church of England.
Bishop Jonathan said after the meeting that he was deeply saddened (see earlier story below) that the legislation had been beaten by just six votes in the House of Laity because of the need for a two-thirds majority.
The three other area bishops in the Lichfield Diocese described the decision as frustrating, a huge disappointment with one saying that the Church of England was now being subjected to ridicule. In his response, the Bishop of Stafford, the Rt Revd Geoff Annas said: I totally support the women (and men) who serve faithfully as priests in our churches and desired that this reform should go ahead, and I feel deeply for them.
I am immensely disappointed with this outcome, despite painstaking efforts over twenty years to provide a respected and honoured place for those who oppose women bishops to share the ministry of the church with those who disagree with them. It feels like those of the Traditionalist and Conservative traditions have not shown the trust that has been afforded to them.
But most seriously is the damage done to the faith as a whole. The Church of England is now being subjected to ridicule which makes our task to reach within and beyond the church with the love and good news of Jesus Christ immensely harder.
The Bishop of Wolverhampton, the Rt Revd Clive Gregory, said that the motion had been thwarted by an unrepresentative minority and he called on supporters for renewed commitment and effort.
I am deeply saddened and frustrated by the outcome of yesterdays vote in General Synod, when an unrepresentative minority thwarted the clear will of the wider Church, as expressed in the consultation amongst the 44 Dioceses. In the light of this I would like to encourage all those supporters of the ministry of women to continue to work for what was so nearly achieved. The nation needs a Church of England which reflects the generous, inclusive love of God; the Church desperately needs the fullest contribution possible from its wonderfully gifted women priests.
I have no doubt that the future will belong to those who are now in despair. But it will require renewed commitment and effort to secure the outcome that so many of us seek.
In Shropshire the Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Revd Mark Rylands said that there were now concerns over whether rhe lay membership of the General Synod truly reflected the wishes of the people in the dioceses.
Its a huge disappointment, especially for our women clergy. It needs to be seen that there was an overwhelming majority in favour (90% of bishops) it only just failed in the house of Laity: even though 64% were in favour.
There is a question over how far the lay membership of GS truly reflects the wishes and aspirations of people in the dioceses which voted 42-2 to have women bishops an overwhelming majority. I do believe women bishops will come one day soon and I long for that day. However, this is Gods church and Gods mission and it will go forward despite this setback. I pray that this delay will mean that we will find a better way to go forward together.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken of his personal sadness at the outcome of the vote. His statement can be found here: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/2717/archbishop-tells-women-this-is-still-your-church
For the full voting details see http://thinkinganglicans.org.uk/uploads/vote-analysis-2012nov.html