The Archdeacon of Norwich has yet to put her clerical collar back on today after taking it off at the end of a “disastrous day for the Church” last night.

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The Venerable Jan McFarlane said the General Synod’s failure to approve the legislation which would allow women to become bishops in the Church of England “almost feels like a bereavement”.

The draft measure was carried in the houses of bishops and clergy but failed to gain the necessary two thirds majority among the lay members following a vote yesterday.

As a member of the General Synod, Archdeacon McFarlane was at the vote. As she left the meeting at Church House in London she took off her clerical collar saying she was “ashamed to be identified” with the Church.

She said: “I was walking back to my hotel. I’m very conscious that when I’m wearing my clerical collar I am a living representation of an institution that I’m happy and proud to represent.

“Last night I was neither proud of the Church of England nor wanted to represent it. I didn’t want to walk through London with people thinking I believed in what had just happened.”

But speaking this lunch time, the Archdeacon of Norwich said she had yet to put the collar back on.

“My collar and I are still eyeing each other suspiciously,” she said. “We’re thinking ‘are we still friends?’ If the collar is back on this evening, then we’re back in business. If not, we’re in a bit of trouble.”

The archdeacon joined many others from the Church of England and wider community in criticising last night’s decision which is likely to mean another five-year wait before another vote on the issue.

She said she felt “deeply disappointed” by the result but woke this morning feeling more positive.

“When you look at the statistics, what’s apparent is that over 70pc voted in favour. We know 42 of 44 Diocese voted in favour. So actually yesterday the Church of England voted in favour but our synodical process means the legislation can’t go forward,” she said.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said today that the Church of England had a “lot of explaining” to do following the vote.

Dr Rowan Williams said the Church had “undoubtedly” lost a “measure of credibility” in wider society following the defeat of the legislation.

He told the General Synod: “We have, to put it very bluntly, a lot of explaining to do.

“Whatever the motivation for voting yesterday, whatever the theological principle on which people acted and spoke, the fact remains that a great deal of this discussion is not intelligible to our wider society.

“Worse than that, it seems as if we are wilfully blind to some of the trends and priorities of that wider society.

“We have some explaining to do, we have as a result of yesterday undoubtedly lost a measure of credibility in our society.”

 What do you think? Leave your comments below.

 See tomorrow’s EDP to find out why EDP columnist Steve Downes is embarrassed to be a member of the Church of England.

19 comments

  • It was a woman that bore the Son of God, a privilege that only a woman could have had. Why can women not be content with that?

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    peter waller

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • As a church warden I was very suprised and upset at the result. . I like the the lady in the article, am pondering whether I want to be associated with an institution, who seem to be able to discriminate against women

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    lucy

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • Since this is a "club" one can hardly expect the rules which are applied to us normally to apply. However we should be able to expect that these religions do not have any say in the running of the country-no bishops or rabbi in the Lords- and nor should they get any special treatment when it comes to schools. Hard to accept that the Abrahamic religions get funding from the tax payer for their religious schools but do not begin to practice equality. It is not even as if they are little drinking clubs exclusively for one sex or another so they escape the law. The C of E is the soft face of religion, fooling us into accepting interference in what should be secular matters. The reality of how women are treated by organised religion was in evidence in Ireland last week.

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • The Catholic church doesn't even allow women priests and they are not getting any stick. Who knows what the muslims would say to a emale mullah? The CoE is miles ahead by comparison.

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    Andy T

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • I was once informed that the reason they needed a twothirds majority in each of the three Synod houses of Bishops, Clergy, Laity, was that this level of majority would indicate the clear will of God, that God had approved, the time was right and the legislation would be passed. Now I witness all these clergymen getting all miffed and upset. At who? God himself?!! Religion is all bonkers to me anyway.

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    NorfolkNincompoop

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • All those who believe in rationalism, freedom and democracy should rejoice. The absurd contortions of the CofE over this issue will prove a powerful driver towards disestablishment. It's only about 150 years late in coming. It's clear to anyone with any sense now that they should no longer have any political power within the state.

    Report this comment

    Cyril the Canary

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • i fail to see what the problem is the powers to be were given an open vote to elect woman bishops they voted against so this is what democracy is all a bout they had a choice for or against the woman lost out its a pity but they had the choice

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    AOTWAY@BTINTERNET.COM

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • For most people the church and religion is something from the past and has little bearing on life today.

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    Old Long Balls

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • They had a voting system and those in favour of the motion were unable to persuade enough others to support it. Looking at the wider picture, a vote in favour would have split the anglican world movement assunder. In my view it is important that the CofE moves on and starts to promote christianity and its beliefs, something it has failed to do under the 'leadership' of the current Archbishop who seems much more interested in all sorts of issues rather than promoting christianity. It has been widely reported that the CofE has been losing people to the Roman Catholic church so it cannot be an issue of female bishops can it? As for the EU passing legislation, what about the Catholics, Muslims and many other religions? I do not believe they are daft enough to try to get involved. What truly risks marginalising the church is failing to promote christianity which surely is the most important issue??

    Report this comment

    andy

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • after a democratic vote the powers to be have voted against woman bishops ,this is what democracy is all a bout.they had the open vote for or against and said no

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    AOTWAY@BTINTERNET.COM

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • Someone please tell me why women want to join these male clubs. They could just as easily do their own thing and start a club which banned men.

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • AOTWAY@BTINTERNET.COM : ** " after a democratic vote..."" ". The legislation needs a two-thirds majority in all three houses of the General Synod – of bishops, clergy and laity – to pass , so heavily rigged to prevent any changes on anything at anytime. Hardly democracy as most people would understand it.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • The "Liberals" all thinking it was a .Done Deal,...and now bad losers !

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    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • @I was just saying - you are probably correct, and the general attitude in the UK at least is one of ignorance and indifference. I think that women clergy are one of the things that has breathed a little life into the moribund C of E, and perhaps delayed its eventual disappearance in most of this country. It would perhaps have been better if there had been a schism over this, and the various elements go their own ways. This will be a running sore for years to come.

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    T Doff

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • It was a woman that bore the Son of God, a privilege that only a woman could have had. Why can women not be content with that?

    Report this comment

    peter waller

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • As a secularist, I can only stand by and watch as the Church (or at least the loony lay faction that voted it out) becomes more and more isolated from real life.

    Report this comment

    Col

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • I'm amazed and dissapointed that the EU hasn't stuck their nose in this saying that it's illegal to disciminate between genders for this position. What doeswould Jesus andor their God think of this discimination then?

    Report this comment

    LLCK

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • I am amazed that any woman would want to be part of a religion which has demonized and vilified women since it was first organised in Rome for the benefit of a ruling class and spread across Europe by male monastic henchmen and tithe gathers.It has done its best to oppress women and deny them equality in secular and church law in this country for a thousand years.Since even church attendance for reasons of convention and habit must now be a thing of the past one wonders why this debate is even arising, why any woman would want join in this game. I am hard pressed to think of any major religion which treats the sexes equally-religion is a male power thing, foolish women to prop it up.

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • Lets face it the C of E has become an extension of society on welfare. Stop acting like a Labour party broadcast equality ,consensus and "fairness".Start preaching forgiveness and redemption with God.on your side.It makes you feel better and get people back into church.

    Report this comment

    PaulH

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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