26 January 2015, The Tablet

First woman bishop ordained in Church of England

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The first woman bishop in the Church of England was today ordained.

Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, presided over the ordination and consecration of Revd Libby Lane, 48, as Bishop of Stockport at a service in York Minster.

The debate over whether to ordain women as bishops has long proved divisive.

Today’s service was briefly disrupted when a man shouted out that Mrs Lane’s consecration was an "absolute impediment".

He called out after Dr Sentamu asked the congregation if Mrs Lane should be ordained as a bishop.

Stepping forward, he shouted "not in the Bible!"

Dr John Sentamu asked the congregation a second time, and there was no opposition.

After Dr Sentamu and other bishops laid hands on Mrs Lane and prayed, there was lengthy applause.

She told BBC Radio Manchester before the service: "People have been very supportive of me personally, but actually this is about a moment in the Church's history."

More than 100 bishops travelled to York for the service.

Simmering tensions over Mrs Lane’s consecration resurfaced last week when Dr Sentamu revealed he would not lay hands on a male vicar about to be made bishop, who does not accept the ordination of women as bishops.

Fr Philip North is to be consecrated Bishop of Burnley in York Minster next week.

But rather than have Dr Sentamu lay hands on him, only two bishops who have never ordained a woman priest will do so.

Dr Sentamu issued a lengthy statement last week saying he rejected any suggestion that those who ordained women were somehow “tainted”.

Although Bishop Lane is the Church of England’s first woman bishop, within the global Anglican Communion there are 30 female bishops, most notably the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the US, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori.

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