The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has voted to ask the 1988 Lambeth Conference, the meeting of worldwide Anglican bishops, to "search for a way of upholding the unity of the church" while at the same time permitting the election of women bishops.

A worldwide gathering of Anglican primates in March recognized that individual churches have the right to elect a woman bishop but urged caution in taking such a step until after Lambeth.

Only a few Anglican churches, including the ones in Canada and the United States, ordain women to the priesthood.

Some bishops in the Church of England have threatened schism if the mother church of Anglicanism authorizes ordaining women.

Canadian and U.S. bishops have overwhelmingly approved having women as colleagues.

The resolution adopted by the Canadian church declares that "there is no theological or legal impediment to the consecration of women as bishops" and asks Lambeth to find a way of resolving the conflict to the satisfaction of all parties.

The Canadian church also elected a new primate, Bishop Michael Geoffrey Peers of Saskatchewan, to succeed Archbishop Edward W. Scott, who is retiring after 15 years in the post.

Peers, 51, speaks fluent French, Russian, German and some Polish. He is widely experienced in international church affairs and has a reputation for diplomacy.