RELIGION

Church Of England To Vote On Consecrating Women Bishops, Raising Activists' Hopes

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 03:  A group of women priests stand among hundreds on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral before going ins
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 03: A group of women priests stand among hundreds on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral before going inside for a special service with Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to celebrate twenty years since the ordination of women priests on May 3, 2014 in London, England. More than 600 women priests attended the service which comes ahead of a vote in July when the Church of England is expected to pass legislation that will allow the women in the church to be ordained as Bishops. (Photo by Mary Turner/Getty Images)

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) Women’s rights activists greeted with delight signs the Church of England is poised to relent and allow women to be consecrated as bishops.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will preside over a historic General Synod meeting at the University of York when a make-or-break vote on the subject is expected Monday (July 14).

“I think we’re there at long last,” American–born Christina Rees, one of the church’s leading women’s rights campaigners, said in an interview Thursday.

Supporters of female bishops are convinced the General Synod — the Church of England’s governing body — will approve amended legislation that will allow for the appointment of women as bishops by November and the first consecrations sometime in 2015.

Reports published in England say Welby is determined to drive through legislation to allow female bishops and is even prepared to dissolve the present General Synod so that a freshly elected Synod could vote on the measure before the end of 2014.

In 2013, the General Synod came within six votes of allowing women bishops.

Senior sources say that revised legislation has convinced those who voted against women as bishops in 2013 to change their minds.

Passage of legislation allowing women bishops will end a 20-year dispute. Women were first allowed to be ordained as priests in 1994.

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