MEMBERS of Oxfordshire’s female clergy last night welcomed the vote on allowing women bishops.

The Church of England’s ruling General Synod voted on the issue 18 months after a previous attempt was blocked.

And the Diocese of Oxford’s spokeswoman Sarah Meyrick said it meant Oxford could see a female bishop take over when the Rt Rev John Pritchard stands down on Ocotber 31.

She said: “It’s theoretically possible if everything went smoothly, but it depends on the state of the legislation when Oxford is looked at.”

Rev Dr Emma Percy, Chaplain and Welfare Dean at Trinity College, who was at the vote, said: “It would be fantastic for the Diocese of Oxford.”

The Diocese has not yet said when it will announce a successor to the bishop.

Rev Dr Amanda Bloor, director of Ordinands and adviser in the Diocese of Oxford’s women’s ministry, said: “Wouldn’t it be great to have a woman leading us? We’ve had women priests for 20 years, it makes no sense not to have women bishops.”

The Rt Rev John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, said he was “delighted” with the result, but said it was unlikely that his replacement would be a woman: “It’s a very large and complex Diocese, so it’s more likely they’ll want to choose someone with more experience.”

At the debate, Dr Philip Giddings, from the Oxford Diocese, changed his mind about the legislation and supported the idea. He said the legislation offered a new culture that still observed the principles of the Church.

The vote will go to the ecclesiastical committee of Parliament and the House of Commons and House of Lords with the General Synod meeting in November to announce formally that women can become bishops.

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