Canterbury Diocese votes overwhelmingly in favour of women bishops

On Saturday 8 March, church leaders, both clergy and lay people in Canterbury Diocese, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the measure which will allow women to become bishops in the Church of England.

The vote took place at the Synod (‘parliament’) of Canterbury Diocese, which met at St George’s Church of England Foundation School in Broadstairs. 91% of the votes were cast in favour of the measure which hopes to see women consecrated as bishops as early as Christmas 2014.

The discussion, prior to the vote at Diocesan Synod, was led by the Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, a supporter of women bishops and a member of the national steering committee which drafted the legislation. He explained to Synod that the vote was not on whether women should become bishops, ‘but on whether the proposed measure would enable the process to work.’

The measure was approved with an overwhelming majority across all three houses: 34 members of the house of clergy voted in favour of the measure with just 3 voting against (one abstention). The house of laity also had a clear majority in favour of the legislation with 52 voting in favour and 3 against (one abstention). The Bishop of Dover also voted in favour of the measure.

In 2011, Canterbury Diocese, along with all but two English dioceses, approved the original draft legislation designed to enable women to become bishops. After this legislation failed to win final approval of General Synod in November 2012, work has been completed to re-draft the legislation with an approach that is expected to receive the necessary support. Falling under the ‘Article 8’ constitution of General Synod, the measure must be approved by the majority of dioceses before it can receive a final vote at General Synod in July 2014. After this time, the legislation will be lawfully approved by Parliament and the Queen, before being formally enacted by the Synod in November.


Further information from:

Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese 01227 459 401, 07876 210 446,