The Evangelical Fellowship welcomes people of all sexual orientations and any gender identity. As such, we believe strongly in gender equality and welcome the news that the first woman bishop in the Church of England has been appointed. She is the Revd Libby Lane, currently Vicar of St Peter’s, Hale, and St Elizabeth’s, Ashley. She will serve as the Bishop of Stockport as a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester. She will be consecrated as the 8th Bishop of Stockport at a ceremony at York Minster on Monday 26 January 2015.
Libby Lane was ordained as a priest in 1994 and has served a number of parish and chaplaincy roles in the North of England in the Dioceses of Blackburn, York and Chester. For the past 8 years she has served as Vicar of St. Peter’s Hale and St. Elizabeth’s Ashley. She is one of eight clergy women from the Church of England elected as Participant Observers in the House of Bishops, as the representative from the dioceses of the North West.
Speaking at Stockport town hall 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.”
Her husband, George, is also a priest; they were one of the first married couples in the Church of England to be ordained together. George is Coordinating Chaplain at Manchester Airport, licensed in the Diocese of Manchester. They have two grown up children in higher education.
A interesting interview with Rev. Libby Lane is available on the Soundcloud.
The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster, said: “Libby has had a varied and distinguished ministry, and is currently a first-rate parish priest. She has already demonstrated her ability to contribute nationally through her representative role in the House of Bishops, on behalf of the north-west England dioceses. As the first woman bishop in the Church of England she will face many challenges as well as enjoying many opportunities to be an ambassador for Jesus Christ. I have no doubt that she has the gifts and determination to be an outstanding bishop“.
The Evangelical Fellowship has had strong disagreements with Peter Forster. He is an opponent of gay marriage and has suggested that gay people should seek psychiatric treatment to “reorient themselves”, ignoring the evidence that such ‘treatment’ is very damaging and does not work. However, we are pleased to commend his words of welcome to Libby Lane and congratulate him on appointing her.
We pray God’s blessings on Libby as she enters the next stage of her ministry.