“An amazing privilege” was how one of four bishops from the diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales at York Minster has described taking part in the consecration service there for the first female bishop in the Church of England.
Bishop James Bell, the Bishop for the Ripon Episcopal Area (pictured far right on front row), was among more than a hundred bishops from the Church of England, who prayed and laid hands on the the Rt Revd Libby Lane as she was consecrated at a packed service at York Minster on Monday January 26th.
Bishop James said, “It was an amazing privilege to take part in the laying on of hands at Libby's ordination and a tremendous joy to see her standing with the shepherd's crook in hand as a bishop in the church of God. After twenty years' experience of the ministry of women as priests on one level it seemed so natural and on another, so special.
He added,“It feels like there is a new wholeness to the ordained ministry and to the College of Bishops. Libby's personal witness throughout the process has been inspiring!”
Bishop Jonathan Gibbs, the Bishop of Huddersfield, said "It was a wonderful day, full of rejoicing. As I said, to one senior bishop, “Isn’t it great when we get something right at last!” Libby is an excellent priest and will make a fantastic bishop."
In a statement shortly after being consecrated, Bishop Libby said she had been encouraged by the thousands of messages of support she has received since the news of her appointment was announced. She said:
"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. And most importantly it retells the good news of Jesus, the faithful one, who calls each of us to follow him.
"Thank you to all who are praying for me and partying with me today. Please continue to hold me in your prayers as, after the example of St Timothy and St Titus who are celebrated by the Church on this day, I share in work of proclaiming the gospel, in word and action, and bearing witness to the name of Jesus."