Church of England consecrates first female bishop

(Photo: REUTERS / Phil Noble)The first female bishop in the Church of England Libby Lane steps outside following her consecration service at York Minster in northern England on January 26, 2015 as the Archbishop of York John Sentamu (L) looks on.

The Church of England has consecrated its first female bishop, the Rev. Libby Lane, during a ceremony at York Minister at a service led by the Archbishop of York John Sentamu.

Lane, 48, was ordained as the eighth Bishop of Stockport during the ceremony of nearly 1,000 people on January 26.

Sentamu wrote in the Yorkshire Post newspaper that day, "It is high time we had women bishops. I have been praying and working for this day.

"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."

Sentamu said, "Women have featured among the Church's leaders from earliest times. During Christ's public ministry there were occasions when he relied on a group of women for his upkeep."

The ceremony marked the first time the Church of England, part of the Anglican Communion, has appointed a female bishop in its 500-year history.

The consecration of Lane closed a long, divisive dispute after a vote last year to allow women to serve as bishops after lay members of the church had stalled their acceptance.

Still some Anglicans still oppose women's ordination as was shown when the service was briefly held up by an opponent of the changes.

The Rev. Paul Williamson came forward and shouted "not in the Bible" after Archbishop Sentamu asked the church if Rev. Lane should be ordained as a bishop.

When Sentamu asked the congregation a second time, there was no opposition and the ceremony continued.

Lane said after her ordination, "My consecration service is not really about me.

"With echoes of practice which has been in place for hundreds of years in the church, it is a reminder that what I am about to embark on is shared by the bishops around me, by those who have gone before me and those who will come after.

"It places the ministry of a bishop in the context of the ministry of all God's people. And most importantly it retells the good news of Jesus, the faithful one, who calls each of us to follow him."

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