AN East Lancashire bishop says he will vote against the ordination of female bishops ‘in conscience’ today.

Bishop of Burnley John Goddard, who retires on Saturday, is in York ahead of the vote on whether to allow women to become bishops.

Bishop Goddard joins Bishop of Blackburn Julian Henderson at the General Synod, the Church of England’s ruling body, ahead of the vote today.


Bishop Goddard said: “In conscience I will be voting against the measure. I do not believe it is right for women to be made bishops in the Church of England as it further fractures the church. However, I feel that it is very likely and I can see no reason at all why it will not go through.

“Archbishop Rowan Williams said if your conscience was opposed to the ordination of women bishops, your obedience to God required you to vote against it. I do pledge that whatever decision is made I will work with those who support the ordination of women.

“I believe in unity in diversity. That means that we can disagree fundamentally but we can still work together in the name of God.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby yesterday said he expected the vote to be in favour and said there was a ‘good chance’ the first female bishop would be ordained by 2015.

A previous attempt to allow women to become bishops failed in 2012, when the General Synod voted against the move.

It is now more than 20 years since women were first allowed to become priests.