Ahead of a planned vote on whether to allow women bishops, the Church of England's ruling synod is meeting to debate the matter.
As women now constitute a third of priests there is widespread feeling among Anglicans that the new role should be open to them.
But plans to exempt traditionalists from serving under women bishops have caused division within the Church.
The opening day of the Synod will see members discuss whether to go ahead with the vote on Monday.
There is an issue surrounding traditionalists who oppose women bishops, this has resulted in a proposal that would give traditionalist parishes the right of access to an alternative, male, bishop, who shared their beliefs about women clergy.
But some liberal Anglicans claim this would render women "second class" bishops and they may vote to reject the draft legislation, along with conservatives opposed to it.
However, the Synod could also opt to adjourn the debate further to allow amendments made to the proposal in May to be reconsidered.
Any adjournment would delay a final vote until November at the earliest. But a defeat would mean the appointment of women bishops would be at least another five years away.
Capitalising on the dissension the Vatican established the Ordinariate in 2011 for former Anglicans dissatisfied with the direction the Church of England is taking over women bishops.
So far more than 1,000 lay Anglo-Catholics and 80 priests have joined.