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Church of England clears the way for female bishops

By David Wilcock

The Church of England is entering "a completely new phase of our existence" after the appointment of women bishops was approved in a historic vote, the Archbishop of Canterbury said.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said women could make up half of all bishops in 10 to 15 years after the General Synod passed a change to ecclesiastical law giving them the same right to fill the post as men.

Last year, Londonderry rector Rev Pat Storey led the way when she became the first woman to be appointed as an Anglican bishop in the British Isles. She was elected by the Church of Ireland as Bishop of Meath and Kildare in the Republic.

Yesterday's vote in London comes 20 years after the ordination of the first women priests in the Church of England.

Archbishop Welby said: "It has taken a very, very long time and the way is now open to select people for the episcopacy, to nominate them on the basis simply of our sense that they are called by God to be in that position without qualification as to their gender."

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