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History as Church of England appoints female bishop Libby Lane

By Amy Murphy

The first female Church of England bishop has described her consecration service as an "occasion of prayer and of party".

The Rev Libby Lane has made history after being ordained as the eighth Bishop of Stockport in a service at York Minster. The two-hour service was briefly disrupted by a lone protester against the move to end centuries of all male leadership in the Church.

Nearly 2,000 people attended the service at the Minster. Among them was Bishop Pat Storey from Londonderry, who became the first female Anglican bishop in the UK and Ireland in 2013.

Speaking after her consecration, Bishop Lane said: "I cannot properly express how encouraged I have been in the weeks since the announcement of my nomination, by the thousands of messages I have received with words of congratulation, support and wisdom.

"I've heard from people of all ages, women and men, people I have known for years and people I have never met, people from down the road and people from across the world."

She added: "Thank you to all who are praying for me and partying with me today."

The bishop said she found the attention she had received "overwhelming".

A Church of England spokesman said they were expecting the lone protester, named as "serial protester" Rev Paul Williamson, to attend the service conducted by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu. He interrupted it as Dr Sentamu asked the congregation to affirm the ordination.

As they did so, he stepped forward and shouted: "No. Not in the Bible. With respect, Your Grace, I ask to speak on this absolute impediment, please."

The Archbishop of York read a pre-prepared statement and repeated his question to the congregation, which was answered positively without further disruption.

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