Wednesday, 17 December 2014
First female bishop named as the Reverend Libby Lane
The general synod voted to back plans for female bishops in July and formally adopted legislation on 17 November. The appointment will end centuries of male leadership of the Church and comes 20 years after women became priests. Mrs Lane was ordained a deacon in 1993 and a priest in 1994, serving her curacy in Blackburn, Lancashire. Since 2010 she has also held the role of Dean of Women in Ministry for the diocese of Chester.
Speaking at Stockport town hall the new bishop, whose role was approved by the Queen, said it was a "remarkable day for me and an historic day for the Church". "This is unexpected and very exciting," she said. "I'm honoured and thankful to be called to serve as the next Bishop of Stockport and not a little daunted to be entrusted with such a ministry."
Prime Minister David Cameron congratulated Mrs Lane and said: "This is an historic appointment and an important step forward for the Church towards greater equality in its senior positions". Mrs Lane will be consecrated as the eighth bishop of the town at a ceremony at York Minster on 26 January.
The first women priests were ordained in 1994, but to date women have not been able to take on the Church's most senior roles. Jump media playerMedia player helpOut of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue. Archbishop Justin Welby is "absolutely delighted" with the Church of England's first female bishop Legislation to fast track women bishops into the House Of Lords will be introduced to Parliament on Thursday.
But Mrs Lane will not be able to enter the House of Lords, as the post she is taking up is a junior or suffragan appointment within the Diocese of Chester, the BBC's religious correspondent Caroline Wyatt said. The first women bishop eligible to take up a seat in the Lords is expected to be announced in the new year.
Mrs Lane, who was schooled in Manchester and then the University at Oxford, before training for ministry at Cranmer Hall in Durham, dismissed suggestions her appointment was just a symbolic gesture by a Church still predominantly run by men.
The bishop and her husband, who is also a priest, were one of the first married couples in the Church of England to be ordained together. Mrs Lane's interests include being a school governor, supporting Manchester United and learning to play the saxophone, according to her church's website.