18 Nov 2014

Church adopts women bishop plan

10:56 am on 18 November 2014

The Church of England has ended centuries of tradition by formally adopting legislation allowing women to become bishops in Britain.

The change was passed with a show of hands at its General Synod in London.

Members of the General Synod agreed with a show of hands to implement a decision made in a landmark vote in July.

Members of the General Synod agreed with a show of hands to implement a decision made in a landmark vote in July. Photo: AFP

More than 20 women Anglican bishops have already been ordained elsewhere in the world including in New Zealand.

In Britain, the first women priests were ordained in 1994, but to date they have not been able to take on the Church's most senior roles.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the move meant the start of "a new way of being the church".

But divisions remain between Anglicans who feel it is consistent with their faith and traditionalists who disagree, the BBC reports.

A prior move to allow women to stand as bishops was defeated in 2012 by six votes cast by lay members of the general synod, the law-making body of the Church of England.

The vote on Monday at the general synod meeting at Church House in Westminster gave the final seal of approval to the legislation, following its passage through Parliament in October. The general synod had voted to back plans for female bishops in July.

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