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Rev Libby Lane becomes first female bishop

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The Reverend Libby Lane has been announced as the first woman bishop in the Church of England.

She now becomes the Bishop of StockportĀ and her appointment comes 20 years after the first women were ordained as Church of England priests reports Sky News.

It ends 40 years of wrangling within the church and comes four weeks after it finally enacted the changes to canon law necessary to allow the appointment.

In her first speech after the announcement the new Bishop of Stockport lead a silence and prayer for the victims of the Pakistan school massacre.

She went on to say it was and “unexpected day” and a “remarkable joy” for her and that it was a “historic day” for the Church of England.

And she paid tribute to all those who had fought the long and hard campaign for women bishops.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, previously said that the church was starting “a completely new phase of our existence” and estimated half of bishops could be women within 10 to 15 years.

He said: “It depends how quickly people retire or die – I rather hope they retire and have a long and healthy retirement.

“It has got to be 10 years, allowing for the fact that men will be nominated to some sees as well, and it could be longer.”

It is expected new legislation will be announced on Thursday which will allow women bishops to be fast-tracked into the House of Lords.

Twenty-six Anglican bishops are allowed to sit in the upper chamber and it is hoped the first woman will take her position before the General Election in May.

The issue of women becoming bishops was first voted on by the General Synod in 1975. It was concluded that there was “no fundamental objection” to the ordination of women to the priesthood.

However, the first motion failed in 1978. In 1985 a vote allowed women to become deacons but it was not until 1992 the General Synod voted to allow women priests – the first 1,500 were ordained in 1994.

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