Bishop of Portsmouth disappointed with women bishops’ vote

DISAPPOINTED The Rt Rev Christopher Foster, Bishop of Portsmouth. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (122940-821)
DISAPPOINTED The Rt Rev Christopher Foster, Bishop of Portsmouth. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (122940-821)

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THE BISHOP of Portsmouth has expressed his disappointment after the Church of England voted against introducing women bishops.

The Rt Rev Christopher Foster said the Church of England would be ‘poorer’ without women bishops following the Church of England General Synod voted not to approve legislation that would have seen the first women appointed as bishops.

It failed to reach the two-thirds majority required for the legislation to be approved yesterday.

The legislation needed to pass that threshold in all three of the houses of the synod - bishops, clergy and lay people.

A total of 324 members of the General Synod voted to approve the legislation - 72 per cent of the total - and 122 voted to reject it.

Bishop Christopher said: ‘I share the disappointment of so many that this measure was defeated, especially for the pain and disappointment that this is to women clergy and many others among us.

‘The ministry of ordained women is highly valued in this diocese and in our church. Both the church and our communities benefit greatly from their gifts and experience and we shall be poorer without their presence for now as bishops.

‘For now we shall need to hold disappointment and pain as we seek God’s will in prayer for the future.

‘In the diocese we expressed strong support for women to be ordained as bishops but there is clearly work to be done and conversation to share about the way forward towards what is clearly the will of the church.

‘Our common commitment remains to serve Christ in our witness and ministry to the people of our communities as we worship in our parishes and communities, and as we play a full part in God’s mission in his world and for his people.’