Only a month after legislation passed approving the appointment of female bishops, the Church of England has announced that Reverend Libby Lane will become the next Bishop of Stockport, filling a vacancy that has existed since May.
Libby Lane, who is 48 years old, married and a mother of two, says she is “honored and thankful” that she has been named as the first female bishop to serve in the position, but that such an appointment is somewhat daunting. The announcement comes following deep divisions in the church over whether or not to appoint female bishops. Just this past July, two-thirds of the General Synod voted to approve female bishops. The divisions have existed within the church since 1992, when the Synod voted to approve female priests.
As recently as two years ago, the vote for allowing women to be named bishops faced defeat from more traditional lay members, who cited the centuries-long tradition of all-male clergy, which can be traced all the way back to the Twelve Apostles. Lay members who are less traditional have argued for reform and gender equality in allowing women to be appointed as bishops.
— Mashable (@mashable) December 17, 2014
Lane, meanwhile, is well aware of the importance of her appointment. “I am conscious,” she says, “of the countless women and men who for decades have looked forward to the time when the Church of England would announce its first woman bishop.” She says she realizes that her appointment represents “an historic day for the church.” This is not the first or only piece of church history that Lane has been a part of; she is married to George Lane, who is also serving as a priest. They are one of the earliest married couples to serve in the church and were ordained together.