On Tuesday, the Church of England's General Synod narrowly failed to pass a motion to allow women to serve the church as bishops. The move, supported by outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, was hotly debated. Concerns regarding the practical specifics of the measure sapped some support from those sympathetic to the cause.

The resulting vote defeated the measure by only six votes. This is far too close to settle the question of women's leadership in the church, widening the divide between traditional and egalitarian factions in English Anglicanism.

It will be five years before the Synod can vote on this issue again.

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