England's first woman bishop to be Libby Lane


undefinedThe new Bishop of Stockport and the first woman bishop in the history of the Church of England will be the Revd Libby Lane, currently Vicar of St Peter's, Hale, and St Elizabeth's, Ashley. Libby's appointment was announced on Wednesday 17 December. She was immediately catapulted into the headlines around Britain and across the world. She's PICTURED HERE doing a live interview with Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty of BBC Breakfast News.

Some 22 hours before that TV appearance Libby was introduced at Stockport Town Hall. Widespead publicity ensued - across traditional and social media. Many prominent people immmediately sent warm best wishes - including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Prime Minister David Cameron.  

Libby will be consecrated as the 8th Bishop of Stockport at a ceremony at York Minister on Monday 26 January 2015.

Aged 48, Libby is married to the Revd George Lane, 46, who is the co-ordinating chaplain at Manchester Airport. They have two adult children.

Libby is a former Team Vicar at Stockport South West.

On the announcement being made of her new ministry as a suffragan (area) bishop, Libby said: “It’s a great honour to be nominated as Bishop elect to the See of Stockport.

"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.

“It is a particular privilege to be nominated to serve as Bishop among people I have come to know and love over many years; in Stockport, in the Trafford and Cheshire East boroughs. The Diocese of Chester encompasses widely diverse communities, socially, economically, geographically—and the church is here for every one of them.

“I am encouraged by the affirmation and support of colleagues with whom I shall be working. And I am very aware of how great a resource we have in the clergy and people of the churches in this diocese, who every day by their actions make a difference for good.”

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 Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Revd Robert Atwell, who Libby succeeds as BIshop of Stockport,  said the news of Libby’s appointment had been “a great day for the Church of England”. He added: “I am thrilled to bits for Libby personally and for the Diocese of Chester and for the people of Stockport.”

Bishop Keith Sinclair said: “As St Paul commended and gave thanks (Romans 16) for those women who were his sisters (verse 1), fellow workers in Christ (verse 3), and outstanding among the apostles (verse 7), so I hope we will all commend and give thanks for Libby. St Paul, speaking of Phoebe, wrote ‘I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and to give her any help she may need’. I pray we may receive and help Libby in the same way after her consecration and before her installation here in the diocese.” 

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 nomination of Libby as the new Bishop of Stockport was approved by the Queen and announced today (Wednesday 17 December 2014).

As well as her ministry as Vicar of Hale and Ashley, Libby is Dean of Women in Ministry in the Diocese of Chester. 

Libby 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.




Libby Lane – historic role when she becomes England’s first woman bishop

Libby Lane and Bishop Peter Forster (Bishop of Chester)

Libby Lane with husband George

Ian Bishop, Archdeacon of Macclesfield, is among the first to congratulate Libby