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First female bishop ordained in Church of England amid ongoing controversies

The first female bishop in the Church of England, Libby Lane, steps outside following her consecration service at York Minster in York, northern England, on Monday (January 26, 2015). Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Phil Noble
*Note: This photo may only be republished with RNS-WOMEN-ORDAIN, originally published on January 26, 2015*Note: This photo may only be republished with RNS-WOMEN-ORDAIN, originally published on January 26, 2015
The first female bishop in the Church of England Libby Lane steps outside following her consecration service at York Minster in York, northern England on Monday (January 26, 2015). Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Phil Noble *Note: This photo may only be republished with RNS-WOMEN-ORDAIN, originally published on January 26, 2015

The first female bishop in the Church of England, Libby Lane, steps outside following her consecration service at York Minster in York, northern England, on Monday (January 26, 2015). Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Phil Noble
*Note: This photo may only be republished with RNS-WOMEN-ORDAIN, originally published on January 26, 2015

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) More than 1,000 people watched as Uganda-born Archbishop of York John Sentamu, laid hands on the Rev. Libby Lane Monday (Jan. 26), making her the eighth bishop of Stockport and the first woman bishop in the Church of England.

A large choir sang as bishops from all over the world watched the historic ceremony described by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as “a completely new phrase in our existence.”

Her husband, an ordained priest, too, watched from the sidelines.

But it was not all hymn singing and rejoicing in one of England’s great medieval cathedrals, York Minster.

Immediately after Sentamu asked the congregation if it was also their will that Lane be consecrated as a bishop, a lone male voice was heard ringing out — “No! Not in the Bible.”

Sentamu quickly read from a prepared text in which he said he was obeying “Her Majesty’s command and proceeding with the consecration of Libby Lane.” (Queen Elizabeth II is the supreme governor of the Church of England.)

But the traditionalists have a lot to say yet.

On Feb. 2, the Rev. Philip North will be consecrated bishop of Burnley in the York diocese, but Sentamu will not lay hands on the new bishop.

Instead, two other bishops — watched by Sentamu — will lay hands on North who is a strong opponent of women in the ministry and a member of the traditionalist Company of Mission Priests.

A statement from Women and the Church, or WATCH, said it was “dismayed” by the arrangements. “We believe it is unprecedented that an archbishop should be present at a consecration in his own province and not lay hands on a candidate,” the group said in a statement.

But Sentamu said his decision was not due to a “theology of taint.”

He said archbishops had always had the power to “delegate” part of their role as chief consecrator. He added: “Any suggestion that the arrangements proposed for the consecration of the Bishop of Burnley are influenced by a theology of ‘taint’ would be mistaken.”

One of Britain’s best-known columnists, Janet Street-Porter of The Independent, wrote in a Saturday column: “It’s as if the Archbishop of York John Sentamu is deemed ‘unclean’ in the eyes of traditionalists because he will have consecrated a woman — a process that was democratically agreed upon last November after decades of procrastination.” She asked: “Is this really any more modern than sharia law?”

YS/AMB END GRUNDY

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Trevor Grundy

17 Comments

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  • I was struck by the quick resorting to state power excuses when someone loudly objected to the ceremony.. It was a disgrace to hear Archbishop Sentamu claim he was merely obeying Her Majesty’s command.
    I guess Henry VIII is alive and well doing his thing in the modern Anglican Church.
    Where are the people who usually scream foul at any entanglement of Church and state????

  • Ever since King Henry VIII, the church and state ARE intertwined. No big secret there! It’s not America. It’s not a democracy…
    Anyway, since when are religion’s doctrines based on the Bible? They’ve made it up as they go along and, I suppose, they will continue to do so until their LORD returns and separates the wheat from the weeds.
    The one lone dissenter apparently knows what GOD’S word says about women teaching in the congregational setting.
    1 Corinthians 14:33-35 states: As in all the congregations of the holy ones,  let the women keep silent in the congregations, for it is not permitted for them to speak. Rather, let them be in subjection, as the Law also says. If they want to learn something, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the congregation.
    PS. I am a woman so don’t think I’m a male chauvinist…

  • Deacon John,

    I always scream foul at any entanglement of Church and State, since I am a theocrat, totally supporting God’s kingdom, or heavenly government, over ANY of man’s governments!

  • CMR,

    I am a woman and I am totally in favor of those who are to teach in the Christian congregations, as was admonished to the first-century Christians: men!!

    I have no problem teaching or preaching to all people outside of the congregation; Jesus himself preached to the Samaritan woman at the well (Samaritans were despised by the Jews at that time); and she and many family members became believers in Jesus.

  • The same woman at the well who later went and preached the good news to the rest of her family and loved ones after? I guess according to you, Mary should have stayed silent instead of preaching the resurrection to the apostles. Then Christianity never would have existed.

  • Commonplace now days to have scripture ignored (1st tim 2:11, and 1st tim 3, much less old testement), with excuses of how either scripture has to be updated, to defame the apostle Paul that he was just a discriminator like other men of his day, or that scripture itself is fallible and man made, or just simply ignored out of personal gain, pride or selfish ambition. Or better yet, the bible ‘supported slavery’ (sarcasm) so lets toss this out too. This is also most the similar reasons homosexuals are also becoming ordained. People pick and choose what they ‘think’ the bible says in oblivious to the blatant. Lets all just keep going by the worlds standards right? It pretty much speaks volumes of the state of todays church and the population that supports it. End times apostasy at its best. Lets all clamor to the praise and support of the atheists who find favor in such things. The way is narrow. And if you think the Samaritan woman was the leader of a church… you really need to crack open your bible more; but then why bother right?

  • As for the last comment on this editorial. When “One of Britain’s best-known columnists, Janet Street-Porter of The Independent” pens more books of the new testament than the apostle of grace, or when even handkerchiefs that touch her heal people because of the strong portion of the holy spirit, maybe one of her ungodly worldly opinions might actually hold some sort of meaning. Until then, I think we should stick with the word of God.

  • Folks need to comprehend that sharing Jesus with folks does not equate to being the leader of a church. Again. No-one actually seems to care to follow Gods word even if it dictates they cant do something.
    This is no better than the chosen people who claimed to be waiting for their messiah and then rejected him and their memorized prophetical scriptures due to their own desires of position, power, pride, and worldly gains. Looks like the same shoe, but this time for the gentiles.

  • I do not understand why a church, like the C of E claims to want to establish ecumenical relationships with the RC and Orthodox churches and then wants to go and do their own thing. If you want to belong to The Club, you have to go by the rules. If you want to have your own club, then that’s different. It looks like the C of E is moving farther and farther away from the RCs and Orthodox than getting closer.

    What does the C of E really want do do? Where does the C of E really stand?
    What does the C of E really believe?

    If the C of E wants to do their own thing then maybe they should just do it, instead of going down a road to a destination they really don’t want to go to!

  • I think it was GK Chesteron who said something like it is degrading to aspire to be a child of one’s times.
    Yet the CofE strains and struggles to be such a child.

  • True, when it comes about matters of the Church we should obey God and not men ( or a woman, the Queen in this case)
    Jesus is the head of the Church, not the Queen as the Apostate COE hides behind a worldly legalism.
    It was very distressing to watch these unregenerate leaders and Clergy give honor to each other with their carnal ostentatious rituals while sticking two fingers up to the Lord.

  • Congratulations to Bishop Libby Lane and the Church of England. Hope the Catholic and Orthodox churches will follow the good example. Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, my understanding is that the ordination of women to the priesthood would be in perfect continuity with apostolic tradition. Consider the following:

    Ordination of Women in the Sacramental Churches
    http://www.pelicanweb.org/solisustv11n02supp6.html#section9

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