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Church of England to decide on women bishops

Published on Nov 20, 2012 6:02 AM
The Reverend Jane Morris speaks during an interview at St Gabriels Church in Cricklewood, north London November 18, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - The Church of England's legislative body kicked off a three-day general assembly on Monday which will vote on whether to allow women bishops, in its biggest and most contentious decision for 20 years.

The 470-member General Synod will vote on Tuesday on an issue which has split traditionalists and liberals, two decades after England's established state Church backed the introduction of women priests.

Women now make up one third of the Church's clergy but commentators say the vote could nonetheless be tight, with The Times newspaper saying it was "on a knife-edge".

The meeting of the General Synod, which is formed of three houses - bishops, clergy and laity - is taking place at Church House, in the shadow of Westminster Abbey in central London.

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