THE Bishop of Worcester has said the failure of legislation that would have seen the introduction of the first women bishops into the Church of England to clear the final hurdle at the General Synod is “disappointing.”

The Rt Revd Dr John Inge previously spoke out in favour of women bishops and tonight said his thoughts and prayers were with the women “whose ministry as priests has enriched the Church of England immeasurably over the past twenty years.”

He said: “Very many people indeed will be disappointed and hurt by this decision.

“I want all of them to know, especially those in the Diocese of Worcester, that their ministry is greatly valued by me and many others both inside and outside of the Church and that they are in my thoughts and prayers.

“There was general agreement in Synod that it was the mind of the Church of England for women to be ordained bishop but resistance to this particular legislation. The final decision was particularly disappointing in view of the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Dioceses of the Church (42 out of 44) signalled their support for it

“At the heart of the Christian faith is belief in a God who brings good out of bad. I believe God is as capable of doing so in this situation as He was of bringing the glory of the resurrection of Jesus out of the crucifixion. It is in that faith that we go forward together in hope.

“I remain confident that, though it will not happen as soon as many of us had hoped, women will be ordained bishop in eth Church of England before too long.”

The draft measure to change the legislation was carried in the houses of bishops and clergy of the General Synod but failed to gain the necessary two thirds majority amongst the lay members of the General Synod.

The House of Bishops voted 44 in favour, with three against and two recorded abstentions. In the House of Clergy, 148 voted in favour, 45 against and there were no abstentions.

But in the House of Laity 74 voted against compared to 132 in favour with no abstentions.

The result will be seen as a major blow to the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, who launched a campaign in favour of a yes vote last month and his replacement the Rt Rev Justin Welby, also urged the General Synod to give the legislation the necessary majority.