A saxophone-playing Oxford graduate who lives a “Christ-centred life” has been appointed the first woman bishop in the Church of England.
Downing Street this morning announced that the new Bishop of Stockport will be Rev Libby Lane, currently vicar of St Peter’s, Hale, and St Elizabeth’s, Ashley in the Chester diocese. She will be consecrated at the end of January.
Because she will not be a diocesan bishop, she will not be among the women bishops that will be fast-tracked into the House of Lords. Bishop of Stockport is a suffragan or assistant bishop post in her current diocese. Southwell and Nottingham is understood to have women on its shortlist for a new diocesan bishop and Oxford is also likely to consider women when the appointments process begins next year.
Libby Lane, who is married to a male priest, George, making them one of the Church’s first clerical couples, was among the first women to be ordained as a priest, in 1994. Her pastoral life has been concentrated in the north, in the dioceses of Blackburn, York and Chester. The couple have two adult children.
Although not a “name” outside the Church, she is highly rated within it and came to the attention of senior bishops as one of eight clergy women elected as observers to the House of Bishops.
Speaking at Stockport town hall this morning, she said: “I am grateful for, though somewhat daunted by, the confidence placed in me by the Diocese of Chester. This is unexpected and very exciting. On this historic day as the Church of England announces the first woman nominated to be Bishop, I am very conscious of all those who have gone before me, women and men, who for decades have looked forward to this moment. But most of all I am thankful to God.
“The church faces wonderful opportunities, to proclaim afresh, in this generation, the Good News of Jesus and to build His Kingdom. The Church of England is called to serve all the people of this country, and being present in every community, we communicate our faith best when our lives build up the lives of others, especially the most vulnerable. I am excited by the possibilities and challenges ahead…Read More
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