Church leaders representing Brighton and Hove and the wider Diocese of Chichester have taken part in the historic vote to allow women bishops today (Monday 14 July).
The diocese – which covers most of Sussex – has its head office in New Church Road, Hove.
The Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner spoke almost at the end of the debate at the Church of England’s General Synod in York.
As a traditional catholic Anglican, he is one of the few bishops still opposed to women bishops but he accepted that the synod was likely to vote for reform.
He spoke about attending a recent celebration of 20 years of ordaining women priests in the church and “a need for reconciliation and peace”.
As archdeacon he then took on wider responsibility for churches in the Brighton and Hove and coastal West Sussex area.
He has also been an opponent of consecrating women bishops.
One of those representing the diocese was Justin Brett, a lay member of the Synod who taught Latin as the head of classics at St Aubyns in Rottingdean until last year. He has been a vocal supporter of reform.
The new Bishop of Lewes Richard Jackson, who did not have a vote at the synod, recently became the first serving bishop in the diocese to ordain women priests.
After the vote Dr Warner said: “The General Synod decision to proceed with the measure that will provide for the ordination of women as bishops will widely be greeted with huge relief, ending a prolonged period of uncertainty and introspection in the Church of England.
“Across the whole of society, today’s decision will be received as an overwhelming affirmation of women, and their dignity, of their ordained ministry and the gifts that God has given the church through them.
“But the vote also embraces commitment to conservative evangelicals and traditionalist Anglo-Catholics who are troubled in their theological conscience by this development as having a legitimate and assured place within the Church Of England.
“The legislative package that has been agreed is reinforced by the House of Bishops’ declaration that contains the five principles outlining how our future life should be shaped as a church committed to the worship of God, the work of evangelism, and our commitment to the common good in society.
“My prayer and hope is that the Holy Spirit will inspire us with the wisdom, gentleness and humility needed for this task God has entrusted to us.”
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