Anglican church to fast-track women bishops

The Anglican Church in England could consecrate its first woman bishop by the end of the year after its ruling body backed legislation to speed up their introduction.

The legislation to fast-track the introduction of women bishops has cleared the revision stage of the Church’s general synod in a meeting in London, meaning it could come into effect as early as November if approved.

Wollongong’s Anglican bishop Reverend Peter Hayward said there were already women bishops in Australia but not in the Sydney diocese, which includes Wollongong.

He said each diocese made their own decision on the issue and governing body for Sydney’s diocese did not allow women to be leaders of congregations, including positions as senior pastor or bishop.

‘‘For many years the Sydney synod have expressed that for theological reasons no permission should be given for women to be ordained as church leaders,’’ he said.

In England, a general synod member from the Chester diocese, Lois Haslam, said the decision was a step forward.

‘‘We have wandered around woman bishops legislation for many, many years, we are now approaching the promised land and it is exciting,’’ she said.

‘‘I feel something like what Moses must have felt as he approached the promised land.’’

To pass, the legislation needs a two-thirds majority in each of the houses of the general synod.

There are 27 women bishops in the Anglican Church worldwide.

With AFP