Bishop of Burnley’s ‘no’ vote as women earn right to become CofE bishops

Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev. John Goddard
Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev. John Goddard

The Church of England’s historic decision last week to allow women to become bishops was opposed by the Bishop of Burnley but supported by the Bishop of Blackburn.

But the Rt Rev. John Goddard, of Burnley, despite voting against the proposal, said he is pleased a way forward has been found that accommodates all views.

The yes vote came after previous proposed legislation was rejected in November 2012.

Since then, work has been done to find a new approach which would receive the necessary support.

Legislation to allow women to become Bishops could not receive the final approval of the General Synod of the Church of England (the church ruling body) unless it was first approved by the majority of the dioceses in the Church of England.

Last week all the Dioceses voted in favour – paving the way for the historic vote.

Bishop Goddard, who is to retire soon, said: “The unity of the Church is very important to me.

“Anything that could disrupt it I have thought theologically carefully about and then taken a stance. On principle therefore I voted against the measure.Nevertheless, as I have taken such stances, I have always aimed to engage with those who disagree with me but to engage with honesty, and by God’s grace I am pleased we seem to have found a way through.“

Bishop Julian, the Bishop of Blackburn, said: “I am delighted the General Synod has taken this historic step which means women will now take their place alongside men as Bishops.”