Belfast Telegraph

First female bishop is proud to bear the cross left as a legacy of hope

BY JOANNE SWEENEY

A silver cross left in the will of an Anglican campaigner to whoever became the first woman bishop in the Church of Ireland has finally been handed over.

Daphne Wormell, a lay preacher, was a trailblazer in the Church of Ireland and campaigner for the ordination of Anglican women priests.

Before she died in 2001, Mrs Wormell bequeathed a cross to the first woman bishop in her Church.

Now, 12 years later, that hope of change has become a reality in the form of former Londonderry rector, the Most Reverend Bishop Pat Storey.

Bishop Storey (53), formerly the rector of St Augustine's in Derry, made history when she was ordained Bishop of Meath and Kildare in the Republic of Ireland after being ordained in November.

Bishop Storey received the cross from Mrs Wormell's daughter, Julia Turner, on Monday.

"It's a beautiful cross and all the more special because of the vision that lies behind it," said Bishop Storey.

The sense of history was not lost on the new Bishop when she received it from Ms Turner, who also launched a book she wrote about her mother's life, called, With Dignity and Grace, in Dublin.

Mrs Wormell also hoped that one day "bishops may yet bring their husbands to Lambeth", a reference to the Anglican Church's conference held every 10 years.

"I will always be proud to wear it but I haven't had time to think of Lambeth in 2018, let alone what I might wear," said Bishop Storey.

She said that while she hopes to fulfil Mrs Wormell's wish that a female bishop might bring her husband to Lambeth, that was a future consideration for the 53-year-old and her husband.

"We have never talked about it.

"No doubt it will depend on whether he has time, as he runs his own busy PR consultancy business."

Bishop Storey added she felt a bit of a fraud receiving the cross, as she did not have to fight to get to her current position.

"My greatest challenge comes simply from fulfiling the job of being a bishop.

"I recognise the efforts of many, such as Daphne, that made my appointment possible and I am deeply grateful."

She also told the Belfast Telegraph that she was looking forward to the opportunity of getting to know people in her diocese and to "feel at home in our new house."

"Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year and I'm so glad we have felt so quickly 'at home'.

"In fact we are just about to put up our Christmas tree tonight."

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