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My consecration service is not really about me – Rt Revd Libby Lane, Bishop of Stockport on becoming the first female bishop in the Church of England

The Right Reverend Libby Lane is eighth Bishop of Stockport, prior to which she was Vicar of St Peter’s, Hale, and St Elizabeth’s, Ashley. Libby had been Dean of Women in Ministry for the Diocese of Chester until shortly before her consecration as bishop. She trained for ministry at Cranmer Hall in Durham before she was ordained a deacon in 1993 and a priest in 1994, serving her curacy in Blackburn, and then spending time as Team Vicar in Stockport and in chaplaincy roles in the Diocese of York.

Libby Lane
The Right Reverend Libby Lane

On 26th January 2015, the Right Reverend Libby Lane was consecrated as the first female bishop in the Church of England in a packed service at York Minster attended by more than 100 bishops from the Church of England and women bishops from across the Anglican Communion.

I cannot properly express how encouraged I have been in the weeks since the announcement of my nomination, by the thousands of messages I have received with words of congratulation, support and wisdom. I’ve heard from people of all ages, women and men – people I have known for years, and people I have never met; people from down the road, and people from across the world.

This moment marks something important

Many those who have been in touch have little or no contact with the Church of England; not all have been people of faith, but every one of them has felt this moment marks something important. That all this personal – and media – attention has centred on me has been a little overwhelming: I cannot possibly live up to everyone’s expectation. And so… I hold on to words of promise from the Bible…

My consecration is not really about me…

My consecration service is not really about me. With echoes of practice which has been in place for hundreds of years in the church, it is a reminder that what I am about to embark on is shared by the bishops around me, by those who have gone before me and those who will come after. It places the ministry of a bishop in the context of the ministry of all God’s people.




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