The Church of England has consecrated its first female bishop during a ceremony at York Minster. On 26 January 2015, the Reverend Libby Lane, 48, was ordained as the new Bishop of Stockport in front of more than 1,000 people.
The Church formally adopted legislation last November to allow women bishops, following decades of argument over women’s ordination.
Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, who led the service, told the Yorkshire Post, “It is high time we had women bishops. I have been praying and working for this day”. He added, “In a few years’ time when more and more women will be bishops, I predict we shall be wondering how we ever managed without them.”
During the two-hour service Dr Sentamu and other bishops laid their hands on Mrs Lane and prayed. This was followed by lengthy applause.
The service was briefly delayed by an opponent, the Rev Paul Williamson, who protested “not in the Bible”, when – in accordance with the ceremony – the Archbishop of York asked the church if Mrs Lane should be ordained as a bishop. However, on second asking there was no opposition.
A Church of England spokesman said Williamson had “the right to protest, but the contrast was between a lone voice protesting and a sea of voices affirming”.
Bishop Lane 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.”
Image Credit: Bernard Blanc / Flickr