Anglican Bishop Pat Storey
Newly appointed bishop, Pat Storey, is given a book about the history of St. Augustine’s Church, where she was a reverend.

In a meeting on Thursday, September 19, the Church of Ireland appointed rector of St. Augustine’s Church in Derry, Ireland, Rev Pat Storey, as the first woman bishop of Ireland and all of the UK.

The decision was done in order to send a message to the other strands of Angelicanism that through the spirit of the Christian faith, such a move is possible. As far as history is concerned, the Rev Pat Storey is the first woman to be given such status on the islands.

The Church of Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church recently approved the concept of appointing female bishops. However, the Church of England has remained traditionalist over the issue, despite a longterm discussion about change.

The Church of Ireland believes that the new bishop is a person of great intelligence, spiritual depth, and warmth.

The Belfast-born woman is presently rector of the much smaller St. Augustine’s parish church in Londonberry. That is the reason why moving from a small parish to the diocese of Meath and Kildare will be a great challenge for her. Such appointment by the House of Bishops took her by surprise. But it is an indication that the Church of Ireland is open minded about the concept of female bishops.

The husband of Rev Pat Storey, Earl, is working as a Church of Ireland cleric. She has been receiving warm welcome by the leaders of other Northern Ireland main churches, including the Roman Catholic Church.

Women are increasingly being appointed to positions of leadership in the church, across several Christian denominations. Currently, the Methodist Church in Ireland is led by a female President. The Presbyterian Church is filled with women ministers. However, as for the fundamental Roman Catholics and Protestants, strict interpretation of Biblical teachings states that a woman should not be the earthly head of the church.

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