It may well have been a close run thing, six votes in fact, but the possible consequences for the Church of England are huge.
Even though Rowan Williams was gracious in defeat it is clear that the bishops were frustrated by the behaviour of the lay members of the general synod.
It seems that some of the vocal evangelical wing exercised the kind of influence that the top leaders can only dream of.
Leading up to the vote the bishops were attempting to stop division within their ranks and where keen to work within the rules that govern changes for worldwide Anglicanism.
It may well be that playing within rules of the game feels better when one is trying to act in what seems to be a Christian manner.
There are times, however, when the matter at hand is so important that staying within the well-defined squares of the chess board seems distinctly not Christ like. There has to be turning the table moments in every journey towards freedom.
It may be the lay members who scuppered the plans for female bishops but it is the leaders of the church who have failed to make this happen.
Diagonal moves may seem reasonable but sometimes there is need to knock down a knight or two and move some pawns out of the way in order to do what is right.