Women miss out on being the first bishop

HEREFORD diocese has been ‘timed out’ of a chance to make history by having the Church of England’s first women bishop.

The Diocese confirmed this week that its new bishop will not be a woman – despite the diocese having the highest percentage of women priests in the Church of England. Just one church in the diocese still holds out against women clergy, but its stance is acknowledged by the diocese as “softening”.

Hereford diocese was widely tipped to appoint the Church of England’s first woman bishop, with speculation starting as soon as the previous bishop, the Right Rev Anthony Priddis, announced his intention to retire in March.

The historic appointment probably would have happened had women bishops been backed by last year’s General Synod vote. After a new vote last week, the Church of England is now on course to give its final approval to women bishops next year.

Though the process will now be accelerated, there are still at least two votes to go, with a final decision due in July, with a new Bishop of Hereford in place by then. All six representatives of Hereford Diocese backed women bishops in last week’s vote which passedby an overwhelming majority.

“This is truly a new day,”said Bishop Alistair Magowan, lead Bishop in the Diocese of Hereford.

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