A SPECIAL day of prayer was held at Chelmsford Cathedral to show support for women bishops.

Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, opened the cathedral on Thursday, to worshippers who wanted to show their backing for the ordination of female bishops in the Church of England.

In November campaigners were dealt a blow when the General Synod, the ruling body of the Anglican faith in Britain, voted against a proposal to allow women to be be ordained.

Bishop Stephen, who voted yes to women bishops, held the day of prayer to show there is strong support for the proposals, which he believes will still happen in the future.

“The debate is not about whether we will have women bishops, but when this will be,” Bishop Stephen said.

“The vote in our General Synod was only against a particular piece of legislation. Nevertheless, this vote did create something of a crisis and challenge for us.

“So our day of prayer is an expression of our trust that God loves his Church and will help us to find the right way forward.

"We are praying for unity and mission in line with Jesus’s prayer for unity so the world might believe.”

The day started with morning prayer at 7.45am before holy communion, which began at 8.15am.

At noon a Eucharist service was held with Bishop of Bradwell John Wraw in attendance. The day finished with a choral evensong begiining at 5.15pm.

When the General Synod voted on the proposal at Church House in Westminster last year, the move to allow female bishops was rejected by just six votes.

This came despite having the backing of high profile religious leaders including the then Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.