The Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester, was one of only two members of the House of Bishops to abstain from voting for or against draft legislation by the General Synod to allow women bishops.
The legislation required a two-thirds majority in each of the three voting houses for the final draft to gain approval.
While more than two-thirds voted for the legislation in both the House of Bishops (44-03) and the House of Clergy (148-45), the vote in favour of the legislation in the House of Laity was less than two-thirds (132-74), a shortfall of six votes.
Dr Forster said: “I feel that, despite the discomfort caused, the result of the vote in General Synod went the right way.
“Although I am personally in favour of ordaining women as bishops, I feel there was a wrong assumption at large in the lead-up to this vote – namely that admitting women to the episcopate is inevitable.
“I also felt that a ‘yes’ for the measure would have damaged the sacramental unity of the episcopate, and that there would have been an undesirable impact on ecumenical relations. As a consequence, I do not think the proposal was debated in sufficient depth before the final vote.”
A blog for The Guardian newspaper as proceedings unfolded from Church House quotes Dr Forster as saying: “To vote for this legislation is to vote to allow parishes to choose their own bishops, and bishops will not be in Eucharistic communion with one another.”
On the other hand, Jane Brooke, Canon Chancellor at Chester Cathedral, was very disappointed with the result on Tuesday.
She said: “The Church of England has already agreed in principle to receiving women bishops but the voting was concerned with how to put it into practice.
“I am personally very disappointed the vote was not carried and I sincerely hope that women priests understand their ministry is recognised and valued in their parishes and their work.”
Clergy from the Chester diocese including the Rev Karen Freeman, curate Dot Gosling, the Rev David S Fisher, the Rev Veronica Hydon, the Rev Tina Upton and the Rev Catherine Helm were six of more than 1,000 clergy who signed an open letter to the Independent on Sunday newspaper on November 18 outlining reasons why the General Synod should vote to allow women to become bishops in the Church.