Libby Lane becomes Church of England's first female bishop

The Church of England's General Synod recently adopted formal legislation allowing women to become bishops.
By Kate Stanton  |  Jan. 26, 2015 at 11:42 PM
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YORK, England, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Reverend Libby Lane, a married mother of two, became the Church of England's first female bishop when she was consecrated in a ceremony at York Minster cathedral on Monday.

"Today is an occasion of prayer and of party and I am thrilled that so many want to share in both," Lane said at the service, which was conducted by Archbishop of York John Sentamu.

"I cannot properly express how encouraged I have been in the weeks since the announcement of my nomination, by the thousands of messages I have received with words of congratulation, support and wisdom," she added.

Lane, 48, was named the bishop of Stockport, after the Church of England's General Synod voted last November to consecrate female bishops. The decision followed years of debate about the role of female leadership in the church.

The ceremony was briefly interrupted by a lone protester, conservative Reverend Paul Williamson, who shouted "No, not in my name," when Archbishop Sentamu asked the congregation if Lane should be ordained.

Lane attended Oxford University and last served as the vicar of St. Peter's Hale and St. Elizabeth's Ashley. She became a priest in 1994, the first year that the church ordained female priests.

"Everyone at St Peter's Hale are delighted and very proud of Libby and know that she will make an excellent Bishop and wish her every success," her local parish church said in a statement. "We may be loosing a Vicar but we are gaining a Bishop."

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