THE decision by the Church of England on Monday to allow women to become bishops has been described by the Bishop of Gloucester as "a great decision, a great day."

The Rt Rev Michael Perham said on Monday he was ecstatic.

All three houses of the General Synod (the governing body of the Church of England) voted in favour of making the change.

The House of Bishops voted 37 for the motion, two against with one abstention. The House of Clergy voted 162 for, 25 against with four abstentions. The House of Laity voted 152 for, 45 against with five abstentions.

Bishop Michael, who was in York for the debate and voted in favour of the motion, said: “I am filled with gratitude and joy that the General Synod has taken this decisive step. I am delighted for what it says about and to our women clergy and the signal it sends to the nation.

“The decision does, of course, reflect the strong support for such a move in the Diocese of Gloucester. What a great day, slow in coming, and what a great decision!”

His joy at the decision has been shared by many other members of clergy across the Diocese of Gloucester.

The Venerable Jackie Searle, Archdeacon of Gloucester, said: “Alleluia! The decision of the General Synod today marks the end of a long road of discussion, debate and negotiation for the Church of England, a road paved with many prayers and the faithful ministry and service of women called to lead a church not yet ready to accept their ministry fully.

“The decision also marks the beginning, a journey that will take us into new territory as a church. It's fantastic news! And it is a journey that will continue to need our prayers and faithfulness.”