Church of England Names First Female Bishop December 18, 2014

Church of England Names First Female Bishop

Two decades ago, the Church of England allowed women into the priesthood. In November, the Church officially said that women could hold leadership positions. And now, in the year 2014, almost five hundred years after gaining independence from the Vatican, it has named its first female bishop.

Reverend Libby Lane (below), a former deacon, priest, and Dean of Women in Ministry in Chester, will become the new Bishop of Stockport.

Speaking of the appointment, she

… said it was a “remarkable day for me and an historic day for the Church”.

“This is unexpected and very exciting,” she said.

“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.”

Lane’s consecration will occur in January. She has been in the ministry since 1993 and was one of the first women to be ordained as a priest in 1994.

Two things strike me about this story. The first is that Lane seems very passionate about her ministry and has succeeded in breaking a glass ceiling that has remained firmly intact for some five hundred years in the Church of England (and far longer, elsewhere). I don’t share her beliefs, but credit where credit is due: the future Bishop of Stockport has indeed made history.

The second is that the fact that this is news at all. That, in 2014, a deserving woman has risen to a position of leadership within her organization, is not exactly a glowing recommendation for religion. And that the Church of England is actually fairly progressive, as religion goes, in finally allowing a qualified woman to hold a leadership position she’s earned through decades of dedication? That’s pretty sobering.

(Image via Church of England; Photo by Kippa Matthews)

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