The Church of England has published, today, new legislative proposals to enable women to become bishops which will be debated by the General Synod in July.
This will be the first occasion that Synod members have met since November 2012, when the previous legislation narrowly failed to secure the requisite majority in all three Houses, despite a 73% majority overall.
The proposals from the House of Bishops accompany the publication of a report of a Working Group which it had established in December. The Working Group's report sets out four possible options for the shape of the new legislation. Of these the House of Bishops has recommended "the simplest possible legislation" (option one) which reads:
"A measure and amending canon that made it lawful for women to become bishops; and
"The repeal of the statutory rights to pass Resolutions A and B under the 1993 Measure, plus the rescinding of the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod."
In addition, option one involves arrangements for those who, as a matter of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests being set out either in a declaration from the House of Bishops or in a new Act of Synod.
The short report from the Archbishops on behalf of the House sets out the text of a motion which invites the Synod to reaffirm its commitment to admitting women to the episcopate as a matter of urgency, require the legislative process to begin in November so that it can be concluded in 2015 and specify that the legislation should be in the simplest possible form.