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Women can become bishops

By ANDRE BAGOO Tuesday, July 15 2014

MOVES are in train which could see the first ever female bishop appointed in the regional Anglican Church, Anglican Bishop Claude Berkeley indicated yesterday. The bishop welcomed a historic vote by the Church of England’s General Synod in York, to end a near 2,000-year-old tradition that only men could be elevated to the Church’s highest rank.

Berkeley disclosed that the issue of approving women bishops will “most likely” be on the agenda at the next regional synod, due in November 2015 at a location to be determined.

The Anglican Bishop welcomed the result of the synod in England yesterday which saw 152 members of the voting in favour of the reform and only 45 members against, ending longstanding disagreement within the Church since women were first allowed to be priests – but not bishops – in 1994.

“I have no objection, “Berkeley told Newsday yesterday. “If we have already decided that women should be priests then to me it is a logical conclusion that this will proceed along the path which leads to the highest posts.”

Berkeley said the regional church will have to move to ratify the General Synod’s decision. The House of Bishops and the Provincial Standing Committee – the body that deals with the business of the church between synods – are likely to ensure that the issue is placed on the agenda of the synod next year.

“This has been in the air for a while,” Berkeley said. “The Church in the province of the West Indies has had it on the cards as well and was awaiting the consensus of the province to agree or disagree. The Church of England has eventually agreed. A few years ago they did not. But at last they have come to an agreement and we have no overriding objections.” Berkeley continued, “Most likely the matter will come up next year. I cannot say what its final outcome will be but I know there is a significant interest in this.” The Bishop said ultimately it will be for the clergy and lay persons to decide the issue. “It will be the synod clergy and lay persons and bishops,” he said. “Whatever is decided will have to be carried by at least a two- thirds majority.” The last synod was held in 2012 in Jamaica.

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