LONDON — Reverend Libby Lane has been announced as the first female bishop for the Church of England.
She will become the new Bishop of Stockport, filling a post that has been vacant since May, and marking an end to years of debate within the Church.
Lane will be consecrated as the eighth bishop of the town at a ceremony at York Minster on Jan. 26. The Church of England’s parliament, the General Synod, voted to back plans for female bishops back in July, but the historic change to canon law was not formally adopted until Nov. 17.
Speaking at Stockport Town Hall, she said it was a “remarkable day for me and an historic day for the Church”.
“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,” “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,” she added.
Mrs Lane has been the vicar at St Peter’s Hale and St Elizabeth’s Ashley, in the diocese of Chester, since 2007. Since 2010, she has also held the role of Dean of Women in Ministry for the diocese of Chester.
After attending university in Oxford, she trained for ministry at Cranmer Hall in Durham, according to her church’s website. She was ordained a deacon in 1993 and a priest in 1994, serving her curacy in Blackburn, Lancashire.
Her husband, George, is also a priest, the website says. They were one of the first married couples in the Church of England to be ordained together.
David Cameron took to Twitter to congratulate Mrs Lane, calling it an important day for equality.
Women in the Church of England
According to the Church of England’s official website, the General Synod passed the motion in 1975 that “this Synod considers that there are no fundamental objections to the ordination of women to the priesthood.
However, the idea was subject to debate and it wasn’t until 12 years later, in 1987, that the first women deacons were ordained.
Five years after that, in 1992, the Church voted for women priests by a margin of just two votes following a five-and-a-half-hour debate. In 1994, the first women priests in the Church of England were ordained at Bristol Cathedral.
There are currently 7,798 priests in the Church of England, of which 1,781 are women, according to figures published by the Church.
The concept of female bishops has also been a fierce battleground, with groups of traditionalists opposed to the idea. In 2012, the measure passed in the House of Bishops and Clergy, but didn’t gain the required two-thirds majority in the House of Laity.
Revised proposals, which allow parishes to request male bishops, passed earlier this year, paving the way for this week’s appointment.
There are 100 male bishops, and 29 women bishops in the Anglican church worldwide, the BBC reports.
Churches in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland already allow women as bishops, although none have appointed one so far.
Rev Libby Lane delivers a speech inside Stockport town hall after the announcement by the Church of England that she will be appointed as the first female bishop, 17 December 2014.IMAGE: LYNNE CAMERON/EPA
Members of the Church of England’s Synod vote on the consecration of women bishops at The University of York, northern England, 14 July 2014. IMAGE: NIGEL RODDIS/EPA
For more on this story go to: http://mashable.com/2014/12/17/church-of-england-female-bishop/