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Anglican community in Jerusalem shocked at Church of England female bishop vote

posted 20 Nov 2012, 06:57 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 20 Nov 2012, 06:58 ]

The Anglican community in Jerusalem says it opposes the Church of England vote on female bishops.

JERUSALEM (NOVEMBER 20, 2012) (REUTERS) - Palestinian members of the Anglican community voiced their opposition on Tuesday (November 20) to the Church of England's vote on female bishops.

The conservative community in Jerusalem are firmly opposed to allowing female bishops,

"In my opinion this is a sticky issue, it is not easy and simple issue specially in Middle East and Arab societies. We, as a church in the middle east, we are a conservative church, we protect our traditions," Anglican Priest Hussam Naoum, told Reuters Television.

Women already serve as Anglican bishops in AustraliaNew ZealandCanada and the United States, but the Church of England, mother church for the world's 80 million Anglicans, has struggled to reconcile the dispute between reformers and traditionalists on whether to allow them in England.

"It is a hard issue, I refuse this thing. It does not mean anything that a woman wants to become a bishop, she wont be like priests and bishops. When I see foreigner (female bishops) I am surprised," said Alies Hussan.

While the Church of England has already voted to allow women bishops in theory, Tuesday's vote - on provisions to be made for conservatives theologically opposed to senior women clergy - needs to pass before women can be enthroned as Anglican bishops in England.

The dispute centres on ways to designate alternative male bishops to work with traditionalist parishes that reject the authority of a woman bishop named to head their diocese.

The General Synod, the Church's legislative body, is made up of separate houses for bishops, clergy and laity, and needs to reach a two-thirds majority in each house for the motion to succeed.

About 60 traditionalist clergy, including five male bishops, and about 900 lay members have already switched to the Roman Catholic Church after Pope Benedict welcomed those who had become alienated by the prospect of the changes.

Each of the 44 member churches in the worldwide Anglican Communion can decide for itself whether to allow women bishops.

Many Anglicans in developing countries are strongly opposed to women clergy and many national churches there have formed a parallel group to the Communion to coordinate their efforts against reforms they see changing churches in the West.