The Church of England’s first female bishop has been consecrated – not withstanding opposition from a “serial protestor”.
Reverend Libby Lane was ordained as the Bishop of Stockport, in a historic ceremony that ended centuries of all-male leadership, she was ordained as the Bishop of Stockport.
But when the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, asked the congregation for their affirmation, one man shouted: “No. Not in the Bible. With respect, Your Grace, I ask to speak on this absolute impediment, please.”
A Church of England spokesman confirmed him as “serial protestor” Rev Paul Williamson, of Hanworth, Middlesex, who had been expected.
The spokesman added: “He’s got the right to protest, but the contrast was between a lone voice protesting and a sea of voices affirming.” Dr Sentamu continued the two-hour ceremony without interruption.
48-year-old Rev Lane said later: “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.”
She was welcomed by almost 2,000 people at York Minster cathedral.
The mum of two was announced as the Bishop of Stockport last December, a month after the Church formally adopted legislation to allow women bishops. She said at the time: “I am grateful for, though somewhat daunted by, the confidence placed in me by the Diocese of Chester.
“This is unexpected and very exciting. 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.” She has been vicar of St Peter’s Hale and St Elizabeth’s Ashley, Greater Manchester, since April 2007.
Rev Lane and her husband Rev George Lane, 46 – chaplain at Manchester Airport – were one of the first married couples in the Church to be ordained together.
She was also one of the first female priests to be ordained in 1994.