Libby Lane: First female bishop to be consecrated

The Church of England will consecrate its first female bishop during a ceremony at York Minster later.

The Reverend Libby Lane, 48, will be ordained as the new Bishop of Stockport, in what she says will be a "profound and remarkable moment". The Church formally adopted legislation last November to allow women bishops.

The move, which ends a centuries-old tradition of exclusively male bishops, has continued to prompt divisions between some Anglicans.

Mrs Lane - who has been vicar of St Peter's Hale and St Elizabeth's Ashley, in Greater Manchester, since April 2007 - is expected to be consecrated in front of more than 1,000 people.

The two-hour service will be led by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, during which he and other bishops will lay their hands on Mrs Lane and pray.

Her appointment was announced last month and Monday will see the consecration, or the process of being made holy, take place.

Outside the Church of England, there are over 20 women bishops in the wider Anglican church, including the Reverend Pat Storey, who was appointed Bishop of Meath and Kildare in the Church of Ireland in September 2013.

'Very emotional'
In an interview with BBC Radio Manchester, Mrs Lane said the consecration would be a very "emotional" moment.

She said: "It is a remarkable thing that this happens to me, and people have been very supportive of me personally, but actually this is about a moment in the Church's history."

It would be "a very profound, remarkable moment for me then and for my future ministry", she said.

Mrs Lane said more than 100 bishops were travelling to York for the service.


Who is Reverend Libby Lane?

Reverend Libby Lane

  • Vicar of St Peter's Hale and St Elizabeth's Ashley, in Greater Manchester, since April 2007
  • Ordained as deacon in 1993 and as priest in 1994, serving her curacy at St James's Church, Blackburn
  • Since January 2010, she has been Dean of Women in Ministry for the Diocese of Chester
  • Her husband, George, is also a priest
  • They were one of the first married couples in the Church of England to be ordained together
  • She is a Manchester United supporter and is learning to play the saxophone, according to her church's website

Her consecration comes more than 20 years after women became priests.

It comes after the general synod gave the final seal of approval to the legislation on women bishops following its passage through Parliament last year.

After the change was approved, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said that the Church was entering a "completely new phase of our existence".

But divisions still remain between Anglicans who feel the change is consistent with their faith and traditionalists who disagree.

Opponents of women bishops include some Church of England evangelicals who believe scripture requires male headship in the Church.

Gloucester, Oxford and Newcastle are among the dioceses where new bishops will also soon be appointed, while interviews for the vacancy as bishop for the Southwell and Nottingham diocese took place at the start of December.

Churches in Scotland and Wales already allow women as bishops, but have not appointed one yet.

Source: BBC News