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LONDON (AP) -- The Church of England's governing body has narrowly blocked a move to let women serve as bishops, with backers falling six votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority among lay members of the General Synod.
It's been 18 years since the first women were ordained as priests in the Church of England, but that change never won universal acceptance. A determined minority argued it was contrary to the Bible's example of male leadership. That group has demanded to be shielded from supervision by female bishops and considered a vague call for respect for their views to be inadequate.
Church of England officials say it may take five years to go through the process of taking new legislation to a final vote.
Sister churches of the Anglican Communion in Australia, New Zealand, Southern Africa and the United States already have female bishops.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)