(CNN) — Church of England leaders have voted to allow women to become bishops, the church announced Monday.
The measure required a two-thirds majority in all three voting bodies of the church: the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity.
The legislation was passed at the church’s General Synod, the three-times-a-year meeting that sets policies for the church, which is being held in the city of York.
The first female bishop could be appointed by the end of the year, the church said.
The head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, said he was “delighted” with the result.
“Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases disagreeing,” he said in a statement. “The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds.”