Church of England officials voted on Monday to begin the process of allowing women to become bishops. Fourteen of the 38 provinces of the Anglican church already allow women to be bishops, reports the Times, and women have served as bishops in the US and Canada.
Though less divisive than the debate in the Church of England over ordaining women priests in 1992, several bishops expressed reservations. Some cited the lack of female apostles as evidence that women could not be church leaders, some threatened to leave the church entirely, and many feared that the decision would create greater division within the church, according to the New York Times. After the 1992 decision, approximately 400 clergy members left the Church, but women currently make up over half of those studying to become Anglican clergy, reports BBC News.
The Daily Mail reports that Bishop of Southwark, Right Reverand Tom Butler, proposed the measure, saying, “[V]ernacular liturgy, married clergy have all been pioneered by our Church and have proved to be a blessing to other communions also. The same I believe will be true of women’s orders which we are pioneering.”