The Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Right Reverend Peter Price, announced on Saturday that he is to retire next year.
Speaking to the congregation at the Diocesan Synod held in Wells Cathedral on Saturday Bishop Peter said: "In June of next year I will be into my 70th year and have proffered my resignation of the See of Bath and Wells as from June 30 2013.
"I have had the privilege of serving this diocese as its bishop for nearly 11 years. It has been among the most special periods of my life and I thank you for all that you have been and done in support of that ministry."
The bishop used his address on Saturday to voice his support for the ordination of women "to all three offices in the church". He said: "It is my belief that appropriate provision can and will be made for those opposed to the ordination of women to the episcopate." He sounded a stark warning of the potential damage to the church if there is a failure to vote through the measure when delegates meet for the General Synod in November.
Bishop Peter said: "In a couple of weeks the General Synod will vote on the Ordination of Women to the Episcopate Measure.
What happens if the measure goes down at Synod is anyone's guess. I think we may reasonably conclude that the impact on the ministry of women would be incalculable. Further the wider mission of the church would be damaged, and its credibility as the nation's church increasingly questionable. He added: "I pray that we may indeed take the plunge, aware of its opportunities, as well as its dangers."
For more on this story, see this week's Mid Somerset Series of newspapers out on Thursday.