Opponent of woman bishops survives vote

Jan. 19, 2013 at 12:21 AM

LONDON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- One of the top lay leaders of the Church of England, an outspoken opponent of woman bishops, survived a no-confidence vote Friday.

Members of the house of laity, meeting at Church House in London, supported Philip Giddings 80-47, The Guardian reported. Thirteen people abstained.

Canon Stephen Barney of Leicester called for the vote, accusing Giddings of helping lead the church into a "train crash of epic proportions." The church at a General Synod in November rejected a move to allow female bishops, and Barney said Giddings' speech against the change was critical to its failure to win the required two-thirds majority.

"From a private individual, this speech would have been just fine. From the chair, it was not," Barney said. "It was partisan and narrow when it should have been strategic and statesmanlike."

Giddings, a senior lecturer in politics at the University of Reading, is a conservative evangelical. He said he was clear in November he was giving his own views and not those of lay Anglicans.

While a majority in the church now want female bishops, Giddings said the church "can ill-afford to alienate those who are opposed on grounds which have a long and honorable tradition within our own church and the church more widely."

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