Religion

New Church of England Archbishop Encourages Members Allow Female Bishops

Vote will take place this month

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Justin Welby, the bishop of Durham, urged the Church of England's General Synod to vote in favour of legislation allowing women to become bishops as his appointment as the next archbishop of Canterbury was confirmed by the prime minister's office at Number 10 Downing Street yesterday.

Speaking at his inaugural press conference as successor to Rowan Williams, the 56-year-old said he was "overwhelmed and surprised" to be offered the job of leader of the Church of England and figurehead of the Anglican communion.

While "utterly optimistic" about the church's capacity for growth, he acknowledged that it faced challenges on the divisive issues.