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Church Of England Names Its First Female Bishop

The Rev. Libby Lane will be consecrated on Jan. 26.
Nigel Roddis
Getty Images
The Rev. Libby Lane will be consecrated on Jan. 26.

The Church of England has named its first female bishop.

The Rev. Libby Lane, who has been a parish priest for 20 years, will be consecrated on Jan. 26, becoming the first woman to hold that position since the church was founded five centuries ago.

"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," Lane said in a statement. "But most of all I am thankful to God."

The New York Times adds some context:

"The tradition of all-male bishops dates to the Church of England's break with Rome five centuries ago, in the days of King Henry VIII. ...

"Ms. Lane is one of eight women clerics who have held observer status in the Church of England's House of Bishops, and represents the northwest of England.

"The halting process toward her consecration reflected deep divisions between liberals and conservatives in the Church of England that are likely to be cemented rather than resolved by the move."

The Guardian has a bit more on Lane:

"Lane has served in the diocese of York, as chaplain in a hospital and further education, and as family life officer for the committee for social responsibility in the diocese of Chester.

"Her husband, George, is also a priest and they were one of the first married couples in the Church of England to be ordained together. They have two grown-up children.

"Lane is a school governor and keen on social action initiatives, according to her profile on the St Peter's Hale website. Her listed interests include learning to play the saxophone, supporting Manchester United, and doing cryptic crosswords."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.