The following press release was issued on 9 July at the end of the July General Synod.  

Bishop of Ely urges leadership with humility towards final agreement on women bishops

– General Synod decision to adjourn debate on women bishops gives Church the chance to find the right words

 Time to find “a Covenant of Trust” on this issue

The Bishop of Ely, the Right Revd Stephen Conway, emphasised that the Church of England General Synod’s decision to adjourn today’s planned debate on draft legislation towards enabling women to be ordained as bishops has provided the opportunity “to exercise leadership with humility which takes the time necessary to enable sufficient assent for final approval [at a future date]”.

In a statement issued at the end of this afternoon’s proceedings of the General Synod meeting in York, Bishop Conway said: “When a big issue looms, even when we are confident in our own mind what the best action would be, it is not always easy to uncover the language which will deliver assent.”

Bishop Conway believes that the House of Bishops have “acted in good faith to find the language to enable this Measure to gain assent after all these years of work and prayer.”

Indeed, the Bishop vigorously defended the bishops’ amendment to Clause 8 and added: “We found the language to distinguish derivation from delegation. The wording responded to consultation and is also consonant with the language of other Church of England measures.”

The Bishop said that the gathered Church needed “time for further reflection and round table discussion to find another firm of words for Clause 5. 1(c)” without, the Bishop warned, “intensifying any sense of discrimination.”

Bishop Conway believes that “the adjournment which the Synod has agreed to is at no cost to anyone” and that “I am hopeful that we can move forward together in mission in a covenant of trust which God will provide.”