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Anglican split closer after vote on female bi -

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EMMA ALBERICI: An historic day for the Church of England after the General Synod voted to allow the
ordination of women bishops in the UK.

The vote came after six hours of debate with one bishop reduced to tears.

But the move could trigger a damaging split after several hundred traditionalists threatened to
withdraw from the Church.

Stephanie Kennedy reports from London.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Both sides of the debate base their arguments directly on the bible.

Opponents of women's ordination as bishops say Jesus deliberately chose men to lead the church when
he selected the 12 apostles and they point out that an unbroken chain of male bishops has led the
Church since then.

But others argue that God regarded all human beings as equal.

During the debate, there were 72 speakers, many delivered impassioned pleas.

In the final hours the traditionalists offered a compromise deal - male bishops would administer in
dioceses that wouldn't accept women bishops

But the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams warned that would risk turning women into
second class bishops.

ROWAN WILLIAMS: I would want to say very strongly that I am deeply unhappy with any scheme or any
solution to this which ends up as it were structurally humiliating women who might be nominated to
the episcopate - which puts them in the position of, as it were, haggling about the limits of their
jurisdiction and their authority.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Christine Allsopp told the Synod that women wouldn't accept becoming Bishops at
any cost.

CHRISTINE ALLSOPP: We have a great danger here. If we put in place mandatory transfer, it could be
a bridge too far. We could find that we have legislation in place and we could find many senior
women clergy with the gifts to offer the church, who feel unable to accept a call to be a bishop on
that basis.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Gerry O'Brien is a lay member of the General Synod - a Conservative he brought
up the whole issue of the wider problem of disunity in the Anglican Church.

GERRY O'BRIEN: We can force people out of the Church of England but I think the experience in
America says you can't force people out of the Anglican communion because there are a lot of
Archbishops elsewhere in the world who will be more than ready to provide the support.

You can hiss if you like but it has happened in America, for goodness sake. I don't want to see it
happening here for they will provide the support which we decline to support.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: At the end of the day, the traditionalists lost the argument and the Synod voted
to allow the ordination of women bishops - there were emotional scenes after the deliberations.

Some 1,300 clergy had threatened to leave the Church if there weren't any safeguards and the Synod
did approve a Code of Practice aimed at reassuring opponents - just what that means is yet to be

Even so that may not be enough to stop a damaging split in the Church of England.

In London, this is Stephanie Kennedy reporting for The World Today.