Thinking Anglicans

The Revd Libby Lane Announced as Bishop of Stockport

From the Church of England website

The Revd Libby Lane Announced as Bishop of Stockport
17 December 2014

Downing Street have today announced that the new Bishop of Stockport – and the first woman bishop in the Church of England – will be the Revd Libby Lane, currently Vicar of St Peter’s, Hale, and St Elizabeth’s, Ashley.

As Bishop of Stockport she will serve 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 Minister 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 where she was announced as the new Bihsop of Stockport Libby Lane 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.”

Responding to news of the announcement the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Dr John Sentamu, said: “It is with great joy that on January 26, 2015 – the feast of Timothy and Titus, companions of Paul – I will be in York Minster, presiding over the consecration of the Revd Libby Lane as Bishop Suffragan of Stockport. Libby brings a wealth of experience in parish ministry, in hospital and FE chaplaincy, in vocations work and the nurture of ordinands. I am delighted that she will exercise her episcopal ministry with joy, prayerfulness, and trust in God.

“When the General Synod rejected the previous proposals in November 2012, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, wrote to ‘pour some balm on (my) wounded heart’. That year, he encouraged me, his province was finally celebrating the election of two women bishops. ‘Be comforted’, he said, ‘it will come.’

“When I wrote to him last weekend to offer my prayers for his battle with prostate cancer, he replied with these words: ‘Wonderful that you over there will soon have women bishops. Yippee! I know you have pushed for this for a long time. Yippee again!’

“Praise be to God in the highest heaven, and peace to all in England!”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said: “”I am absolutely delighted that Libby has been appointed to succeed Bishop Robert Atwell as Bishop of Stockport. Her Christ-centred life, calmness and clear determination to serve the church and the community make her a wonderful choice.

“She will be bishop in a diocese that has been outstanding in its development of people, and she will make a major contribution. She and her family will be in my prayers during the initial excitement, and the pressures of moving”.

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.

“I am delighted at her designation as Bishop of Stockport after a lengthy process of discernment across the Church of England and beyond.”

The nomination of Libby as the new Bishop of Stockport was approved by the Queen and announced today (Wednesday 17 December 2014). Libby succeeds the Rt Revd Robert Atwell, who is now the Bishop of Exeter.

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

Biographical Details:

Libby Lane has been the Vicar of St Peter’s Hale and St Elizabeth’s Ashley, in the Diocese of Chester, since April 2007, and from January 2010 has also been Dean of Women in Ministry for the diocese. After school in Manchester and University at Oxford, she trained for ministry at Cranmer Hall in Durham. She was ordained a deacon in 1993 and a priest in 1994, serving her curacy in Blackburn, Lancashire.

Prior to moving to Hale, Libby was Team Vicar in the Stockport South West Team, and Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands in the Diocese of Chester, advising and supporting those considering a vocation to ministry in the church. She continues to be a Bishop’s Selection Advisor.

Libby has served in the Diocese of York, as Chaplain in hospital and further education, and as Family Life Officer for the Committee for Social Responsibility in the Diocese of Chester.

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.

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.
Her interests include being a school governor, encouraging social action initiatives, learning to play the saxophone, supporting Manchester United, reading and doing cryptic crosswords.

Resources available:

A Video statement by The Revd Libby Lane on her appointment is available from the Diocese of Chester Website here (Chester Diocese youtube channel is available here).

An audio interview with The Revd Libby Lane on today’s announcement is available as part of a Church of England podcast here.

A photostream from today’s announcement including photos of The Revd Libby lane are available here.

Announcement on the Chester diocesan website England’s first woman bishop to be Libby Lane

Announcement from Number 10 Suffragan See of Stockport: Elizabeth Jane Holden Lane nomination approved

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Charles Read
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Charles Read

This is wonderful news and a very fine candidate. I have known Libby in a variety of contexts and know she will be a bishop who supports Churches, clergy and Readers drawing on her own extensive experience of front line ministry.

Many congratulations to her and to Chester diocese.

Laurie
Guest
Laurie

Every blessing on this fine new bishop.

26th January very near – a Christmas bishop as we all wait on Christ’s return.

Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente
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Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente

A brave step into the 19th century for our glorious church at last. Congrats to her.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

What wonderful news for the first of the Advent ‘O’ days! I was accused on an earlier thread of ‘simply mischief making’ for suggesting that Fr Philip North might show his support for womens’ ministry by indicating his willingness (or even desire) to be consecrated as Bishop of Burnley at the same time as the first woman bishop. In the light of today’s news, I would observe that Burnley is no distance from Stockport, and Jan 26th is no time from Feb 2nd, and that therefore the two consecrations could, and normally would, have taken place at the same time.… Read more »

Ian
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Ian

Malcolm… agreed it seems a good appointment – though time tells as with male and female appointments…

But you say; ‘not to allow traditionalists to become even more of a ‘church within a church’ than they have become in the last 20 years.’
I’m not one. However I think that this is partly where they have been pushed. My conversations with friends who are such absolutely confirms this. There’s repentance needed on more than one side.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Is there any particular reason why Libby Lane should be consecrated so soon after the announcement of her preferment was announced? From 17th December to January 26th is a mere 40 days. I have never known a consecration take place with such undue haste coming so close on the heels of the actual announcement. This is also just 7 days prior to Fr. Philip North’s consecration? May I respectfully ask who will be the Chief Consecrator on February 2nd?

David Lamming
Guest
David Lamming

Is this a case of the church following the law, albeit half a century later?! The first female county court judge was also an Elizabeth Lane, appointed in 1962 and ‘promoted’ to be a High Court Judge (as Dame Elizabeth Kathleen Lane) in (what was then) the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division, 3 years later in 1965. Does this presage a diocesan see for Libby Lane in 2018, perhaps?

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Father David, I remember an occasion in the Diocese of the Arctic where we elected a new bishop at the beginning of a ten day diocesan synod, and consecrated him at the end of it. But then, we had spent $150,000 in air fares bringing everyone together for the synod, so it seemed like good stewardship…!

Richard
Guest
Richard

Are her views on a) matters of sexuality and b) the Five Principles known?

Chuchu Nwagu
Guest
Chuchu Nwagu

Fr David: The Chief Consecrator for Fr North’s consecration is most likely to be ++Ebor… I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be ++Ebor wouldn’t be Chief Consecrator! Obviously +Stockport-Elect (Libby) wouldn’t be allowed to take part in the Consecration for practical reasons.

Malcolm: Hmmm! It would be pushing it a bit far to expect Fr North and Libby to be consecrated together. Fr North’s consecration will be an celebration in itself and I think it’s only right that it is kept separate

paul richardson
Guest
paul richardson

And here is me thinking that the reason for Libby Lane’s consecration in January is that she would be available to participate with other bishops of the Northern Province in the February consecration!

Father David
Guest
Father David

The news that Fr. Philip was to be the next Bishop of Burnley was announced from Number 10, Downing Street on 7th November 2014. He will be consecrated on 2nd February 2015 just short of 3 months between the announcement and the consecration. Three months is also the usual length of time to give notice before moving on to a new appointment. Merely an observation.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

I think what you regard as undue haste has to do with making up for lost time, Fr David, and for wanting to undo as soon as possible some of the immense harm that was done to the image of our church in the secular world by the GS decision in Nov 2012. I agree with you that it is extraordinary to have two separate consecrations in the same province within 7 days of each other, but then I suggested the obvious solution to that problem in an earlier thread (and above), and you said that I was simply mischief… Read more »

Stephen King
Guest
Stephen King

In response to Malcolm’s point, an interesting alternative would have been to consecrate +Burnley and +Maidstone together in Westminster Abbey – but I suppose that’s why +Maidstone hasn’t been appointed yet!

Tristan
Guest
Tristan

Malcolm,

I admire your optimism, but a quick glance at the comments in the Guardian and Telegraph articles shows that the secular world couldn’t give two hoots about people who proclaim Christ, be they male or female.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Stephen, that would be a practical solution but Burnley is in the Northern Province and Westminster Abbey (although a Royal Peculiar) is in the Southern Province, so Fr. Philip’s consecration is booked to take place in York Minster just a week after the Bishop of Stockport’s. How unusual is that?

Stephen King
Guest
Stephen King

Fr David, I agree that the separation of the two consecrations by a week must be unusual, and that geographical considerations rule my idea out, but it would have been very interesting for two bishops who, for different reasons, oppose the ordination of women, to have been consecrated together. I say that as a supporter of the ordination of women, but who believes that both anglo-catholic and evangelical opponents are entitled to be treated fairly.

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

We had speedy consecrations of PEVs a short while back.

JCF
Guest
JCF

TBTG! May the Rev Lane’s episcopal ministry be richly blessed.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Welcome, Mother Church of England, to the larger sphere of the participation of Women in the Episcopate – as long practised by other Provinces of the world-wide Anglican Communion. Deo gratias!

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

I am very seldom accused of being an optimist, Tristan, and that is one of many things about which I need to repent. But, if you stray ‘below the line’ into the unmoderated comment sections of the online press. you find, in my experience, a torrent of invective and extremism that I don’t think is representative of the population at large. There is certainly a growing section which is implacably opposed to the Church, whatever we may do or not do, but there remains, I believe, a large group of people who, whilst not practising the faith regularly, nevertheless remain… Read more »

James A
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James A

Now that we have got down to the nitty-gritty of who is is laying hands on whom, I have been reliably informed that +Sentamu Eborcarensis (for it is he) will not consecrate Philip North. The Five Principles allows for another bishop (or bishops) to do this. Given that Libby Lane is being consecrated before Fr North, it would be difficult for +Sentamu to be the chief co-consecrator. The date for Libby’s consecration, quick as it is, has a measure of political expediency attached to it: get it done first so that it takes the sting out the Primate’s willingness to… Read more »

paul richardson
Guest
paul richardson

“This is the five principles in action” No it is not. The five elements of the legislation provide for pastoral and sacramental ministry for those who in principle cannot accept such from a woman. All of our current bishops are male. All the flying bishops were consecrated by their Archbishop and co consecrating bishops regardless of whether any of them had ordained women as priests. There is nothing in the legislation that should prevent ++Ebor from being chief consecrator of either of the new suffragans to be in his province. Or stop the newly consecrated bishop of Stockport being a… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

James I find your latest comment to be most reassuring in that it points to a promise made being kept rather than broken as has often been the case in past years.
Paul, I’m sure that the next Bishop of Stockport would shew a pastoral sensitivity by not turning up at York Minster a week following her own consecration. No doubt she will be fully engaged with episcopal duties in the diocese of Chester so soon after her own big day.

Tristan
Guest
Tristan

James,

I’m still mystified why +York wouldn’t do the consecration. +Rowan consecrated +Jonathan Baker (Ebbsfleet) and +Richborough in 2011, and +Justin consecrated +Jonathan Goodall (Ebbsfleet) in 2013. Both Justin and Rowan ordain women, AFAIK. Why the objection to +York?

Chuchu Nwagu
Guest
Chuchu Nwagu

I should hope that +Sentamu Ebor would be Chief Consecrator for Fr North’s consecration and don’t see any reason why this might be the case. Libby will not be amongst those laying hands on Fr North; it would be unwise and insensitive to do such a thing but I think she’ll probably be in attendance at the Ceremony. +Sentamu Ebor and the other male Bishops are technically validly ordained regardless of whether they’ve laid hands on a female priest. Plus +Justin Cantuar and +Sentamu Ebor have both ordained Bishops who are opponents of women’s ministry. In the long run it… Read more »

Laurie
Guest
Laurie

So it’s starting / continuing !

David expects the new Bishop Libby to stay way from the Episcopal Ordination at York Minister ?

Keep out ?

This is not what was agreed to.

Cause of great concern.

Though I expect few will make such demands on bishops who are women, as it happens.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

When I saw James A’s ‘reliable information’ earlier, I wondered if it was to be taken as a concession to traditionalists, or a slight to them. Fr David takes it to be a concession but, like others who have posted since, I am puzzled and concerned, so I would like to pose three questions:- 1) What is the promise that would have been kept if ++Sentamu steps down from his normally expected role as chief consecrator of a bishop in his province? 2) If ++Sentamu was acceptable as chief consecrator of +Beverley, what has happened since to make him unacceptable… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Chuchu is perceptive in saying that it would be “unwise and insensitive” for the newly consecrated Bishop of Stockport to attend the Bishop of Burnley’s consecration. Laurie is also correct in expressing this to be a “Cause of great concern” but come the dawning of A. D. MMXV that will be the new reality. What will be happening in York Minster early next year will symbolise the deep divisions within the State Church when two diametrically opposed bishops are consecrated within a week of one another. That, I’m afraid, is indeed the new reality. Just as we have had to… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Father David, the new reality is that there will be women bishops and that provisions are made for those who cannot accept that. It would be wrong to present this as if there were two 50% equal strands in the CoE. Your views will be catered for but that cannot mean that validly consecrated bishops should exclude themselves from being in the congregation. That would send out entirely the wrong signals. Bishop Libby needs to be there and needs to be very visible, while honouring the CoE agreement by not participating in the actual consecration. Her presence does not risk… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Father David misrepresents Chuchu, who said that ‘laying hands’ would be unwise and insensitive but that she’d probably be there. From everything I”ve read, North has no, as it were, ‘physical’ aversion to women priests. I agree with Erika, Libby should be there and should be respected by all but should not participate in the actual consecration. Should she be there in full kit? Yes, I think so. The way to make things work is to blur everything as much as possible while maintaining the distinctions which allow Traditionalists to remain on board (albeit sometimes in a separate cabin).

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Spot on, Erika. And when, Fr David, did ‘mutual flourishing’ turn into ‘diametrical opposition’?
Many people spoke in these pages, at the time of Fr North’s appointment, of his warm and positive attitude towards women clergy, and I am sure that +Libby will be wholly supportive of all her fellow bishops, so who exactly is going to be diametrically opposed? Certainly not the two bishops!

Father David
Guest
Father David

Malcolm’s three questions can easily be answered as follows:- 1) the fifth of the “Five Guiding Principles” guarantees pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the C of E and the “Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests” is specifically designed to sustain the diversity of the C of E and the mutual flourishing of its constituent parts. Hence there will be special arrangements provided for the future consecration of Traditionalist bishops. 2) What will have happened between the consecrations of +Beverley and +Burnley will be the consecration of +Stockport. The happening due to take place on 26th… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

John, is your use of the word “blur” a euphemism for sweeping all differences under the carpet? Suggesting that Traditionalists remain “on board” albeit “in a separate cabin” reminds me of nothing more than Mr. Farage’s recent comment about the breast feeding lady in Claridge’s that she should go away and do it “in a corner”

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

Once more: we did not agree at GS to separate arrangements for consecrations. Such things were rejected in the working party. If Sentamu stands aside for Philip North, this will reinforce a theology of taint and be a slight against all women in the church (and many of us men!)

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Traditionally, the Archbishop of the province has ben the presiding bishop at the consecration of bishops in his province. If he is for some reason prevented from being able to do so, then his commissary would be his senior bishop — London in the southern province and Durham in the northern. If they are unavailable then I would expect Winchester to be the next choice in the southern province. After that then presumably a senior diocesan bishop would be the commissary. Is there any precedent for a retired bishop (even one formerly an archbishop and primate) being the presiding bishop… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Father David,

A lot of charity is extended to you here, and it is very meagrely reciprocated.

You don’t answer to the fact that you did misrepresent Chuchu (herself, I think, ‘traditionalist’).

My use of ‘blur’ does not remotely imply what you suggest, as the following ‘while’ phrase makes absolutely clear.

Both clarity and charity are required of you.

And by the way, how do they order things in Bexhill?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Fr David,
your point 2 above has nothing at all to do with sacramental assurance.
It is pure Donatism and must be rejected.

I agree that rejecting it is difficult, because the church has just signed up to the idea of headship bishops which is purely based on the idea that bishops must not be false teachers.

But I measure evangelicals according to their theology and Anglo-Catholics according to theirs.
And by that measurement, that a bishop has done something you disapprove of does not invalidate the sacrament. Every single currently consecrated male bishop is therefore acceptable for Anglo-Catholics worried about sacramental assurance.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Simon, you claim that there has never been a precedent set for a retired bishop if even a retired Archbishop to preside at a consecration, similarly there has certainly not been a precedent for any bishop or Archbishop of the Established Church to consecrate a woman to the episcopate. We are on virgin territory here and the New Reality calls for imaginative and innovate solutions.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Once more: we did not agree at GS to separate arrangements for consecrations. Such things were rejected in the working party. If Sentamu stands aside for Philip North, this will reinforce a theology of taint and be a slight against all women in the church (and many of us men!)”

Very glad to hear that. Thank you for that bit of information, Charles.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Thank you Fr David for answering my questions, and thank you Charles for keeping us on the straight and narrow. What Fr David is asking for is indistinguishable to me from a third province, with a separate ‘taint-free’ Abp to look after it. Such ideas were postulated in the very early days of this debate, but they were ruled out then and have never been on the table since. What has been denied by law must not be allowed to happen by stealth. From all that has been said above, it has to be ++Sentamu. He is the right and… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

It’s rather novel to be labelled an heretic when I hold fast to that “Faith which has been believed everywhere, always and by all”. Surely it is the Church of England itself which is fast heading towards heterodoxy? However, by God’s good grace there will remain within it pockets of Orthodoxy and the Gates of Hell will not prevail against it.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Father David, if you do not wish to be labeled a heretic, maybe you could explain to us why the presence of a woman bishop in the congregation and a validly consecrated Archbishop consecrating a new male bishop are a threat to sacramental assurance?

Why is rejecting an Archbishop because he does and believes something you don’t not Donatism?
Thee are genuine questions.

Father David
Guest
Father David

I seem to remember that Our Blessed Lord once said “Thou Art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church” He did not say “Thou Art Petra and upon this rock I will build my Church”
May I courteously and respectfully remind correspondents that for one Christian to call another Christian a “heretic” is one of the most heinous utterances a Follower of Christ can throw at another.

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

As a resident of the so-called ‘secular world’ may I say that this is ‘angels on a pin’ stuff at its most ludicrous and unattractive. Surely Philip North can cope with the very small risk of catching ‘girl fleas’ from Bishop Libby’s mere presence in the building – or perhaps they can leap from her without any hand contact? Then again, there’s still the danger of some Elnett being on Sentamu’s hands from her consecration. What a terribly serious problem it all is. And Christians talk of the ‘Good News’ – I see none of it here, just pettifogging ritual.… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Don’t believe for a second that Jesus approves of such posturing antics. Erika and Malcolm are absolutely right. There are ‘Tradtionalists’ whom one respects and whom it is one’s duty to protect. Then there are the other sort. Warner certainly seems to me to fall into the former category. So, hitherto, has North. Presumably, he himself could resolve this question by making it publicly clear that he’s happy with Sentamu.

Tristan
Guest
Tristan

I do often wonder if a lot of heartache – and the losses of the laity and clergy to the RC Ordinariate – could have been avoided by the formation of the Third Province (which I guess would have been more or less an Ordinariate within the CoE.)

It probably would have avoided any future difficulty over the appointment of an Archbishop, too.

Tragically the liberal movement has very rarely been generous in this regard.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Fr David,
are you’re willing to answer my question?

That’s a shame, because I would really like to understand how you square not wanting a female bishop present at a consecration and not wanting a sacramentally assured Archbishop to perform the consecration fits in with traditional orthodox doctrine about the character and actions of an ordained priest not affecting the efficacy of the sacraments.

Simon Kershaw
Admin

“Simon, you claim that there has never been a precedent set for a retired bishop if even a retired Archbishop to preside at a consecration”.

Actually, I didn’t say there was no precedent: I asked whether there was such a precedent.

I thought it unlikely that there is such a precedent; but I don’t keep records of such things, so maybe it has happened at some point. Hence the question.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Well, if Laurence and John wish to treat the Apostolic Succession with such flippancy, then so be it. All I can say is that I wish them and all others who have responded to my comments a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in this Season of Goodwill to all men (or should that be people? I rather think that it should!) God Bless us, Everyone.