Libby Lane 1st Lady Bishop of Church of England
Libby Lane said: “It is a remarkable thing that this happens to me, and people have been very supportive of me personally, but actually this is about a moment in the Church’s history.”
Whatever our religious or political persuasion historically a moment to savour if you believe in freedom and equality, what a moment when Canon Law as well as Law of the United Kingdom has enabled this historic event to take place.
Ordained as the Bishop of Stockport, with all the drama of last minute opposition to the ordination in the final minutes before Bishop Lane was ordained by the very excellent individual Archbishop Dr Sentamu of York. But the good news is finally this long overdue 1st ordination has taken place. The Church of England is still very much a national institution and surely it is right it aligns itself with equal opportunity.
Here is the video clip of the vital moment, when the final protest is made there is the pronouncement carefully prepared by the Archbishop of York anticipating the protest that confirms and this is key, the the ordination of the Bishop of Stockbridge, is legal in accordance with Canon Law which is incorporated into the ‘law of the land.’ In our British system, the historic dominance of the Church of England is reflected by its legal recognition and establishment as part of the governance of the UK, in effect the legal aspects of Canon Law are part of the British legal System and can only be altered in accordance with the Parliamentary process. This works by the representation of the Church via the Bishops in the House of Lords, that those Bishops do not have rights in the House of Commons and that via the governance of the Church via the General Synod (which was formed by the Convocations of York and Canterbury) under the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, by right of historic precedence. In effect the Church cannot change the Canon Law without applying the process allowed by British law. The process for this governance of the Church is summarised online on the Church of England website here and its structure is set out here
For more about this moment in time see here for BBC footage of this historic event. Congratulations Bishop Lane, no pressure, the first female Bishop in the Church of England that stretches back in British History almost 1500 years as a minimum.
How the General Synod Finally Made the Decision to Allow Women to be Ordained as Bishops
Video report from the Press Association, this historic decision was greeted in total silence to avoid a further split over what some factions of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion have continued to oppose.