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Candlemas celebration of first CofE woman bishop

The Revd Libby Lane who will be consecrated as the Bishop of Stockport this month. Photo: Kippa Matthews.

The Revd Libby Lane who will be consecrated as the Bishop of Stockport this month. Photo: Kippa Matthews.

A SPECIAL service to a mark the consecration of the first female bishop in the Church of England is to be held at St Mary’s, Thatcham.

The Archdeacon of Berkshire, the Ven. Olivia Graham will preside and retired Archdeacon of Northampton, the Ven. Christine Allsopp will preach at the service which takes place on Candlemas (2 February) at 7.30pm.

The idea came when the Revd Marion Fontain, of the Thatcham Team Ministry, made three purple candles back in November 2012, when the women bishop’s legislation was expected to be passed at the November General Synod.

The Revd Mark Bennet, who has been a member of Women and the Church, (WATCH), since 2006, said: “We dedicated the candles and they have been in our chapel ever since, waiting for women to be consecrated as bishops.

“When Libby Lane’s appointment was announced we decided to have a service and celebrate. It’s an open invitation to everyone and we are asking people to, if they can, bring a purple candle.”

The Revd Libby Lane’s appointment was announced just before Christmas, to the delight of supporters of women bishops. The acting Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, said: “The announcement that Libby Lane has been appointed as the next Bishop of Stockport will, I know, bring much joy to many people both in this diocese and throughout the Church of England. As one of the eight women who has been regularly attending the House of Bishops’ meetings over recent months I have come to value her contributions very much indeed and I look forward to working with her in the coming years. I am delighted too that the five principles worked out by the House of Bishops will also ensure that those, such as the recently appointed Bishop of Burnley, who disagree with the development of having women bishops, will also retain their honoured place within the Church of England.”

The CofE’s first female bishop

THE acting Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, has welcomed the appointment of the first female bishop in the Church of England.

Bishop Colin says: “The announcement that Libby Lane has been appointed as the next Bishop of Stockport will, I know, bring much joy to many people both in this Diocese and throughout the Church of England. As one of the eight women who has been regularly attending the House of Bishops’ Meetings over recent months I have come to value her contributions very much indeed and I look forward to working with her in the coming years. I am delighted too that the five principles worked out by the House of Bishops will also ensure that those, such as the recently appointed Bishop of Burnley, who disagree with the development of having women bishops,  will also retain their honoured place within the Church of England.”

Listen to an interview with the Revd Libby Lane here:

The Revd Libby Lane who is to become the Bishop of Stockport. Photo by Kippa Matthews.

The Revd Libby Lane who is to become the Bishop of Stockport. Photo by Kippa Matthews.

https://soundcloud.com/the-church-of-england/stockport

Westminster debate on women priests

AS the celebrations of 20 years since the first women priests were ordained gather momentum, a Government debate on the invaluable contribution they have made to the Church of England took place in Westminster on March 20.  The backbench discussion included speculation about the positive contribution women will make when they are consecrated as bishops in the Church of England. Read the full debate, including the contribution of Sir Tony Baldry, Second Church Estates Commissioner and MP for Banbury in North Oxfordshire, here. 

And don’t forget to RSVP if you are coming to the Sharing the Journey, the Oxford Diocese’s celebration of and thanksgiving for 20 years of women priests. The event, on Saturday, June 7 starts with a service at Oxford’s Cathedral at Christ Church at 11am, followed by a Panel Discussion at St Mary the Virgin Church. To book, indicating whether or not you want to use the creche, email tinadstirling@aol.com or call 01296 747587.

 

Rejoicing as the Revd Dr Helen-Ann Macleod Hartley is consecrated as Bishop of Waikato and Taranaki

Helen-Ann trained for ordination on the Oxford Ministry Course at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and was ordained in 2007, writes Martyn Percy.  She served her curacies at Wheatley, near Oxford, and then Littlemore, Oxford alongside teaching New Testament at Cuddesdon.  In 2011 Helen-Ann was appointed as Dean of Tikanga Pakeha (caring for and overseeing the European students) at St. John’s College, Auckland, New Zealand.  The College has three Tikanga (which are in effect, ‘formational communities/cultures’), the other two covering Polynesia and Maori.

Helen-Ann Hartley with Martyn Percy.

Helen-Ann Hartley with Martyn Percy.

In the summer of 2013 it was announced that Helen-Ann had been elected as the 7th Bishop of Waikato and Taranaki.  This is a unique diocese in the Anglican Communion, as it has two bishops who serve as co-equals, sharing jurisdiction and in the pastoral care of the diocese.  The present Archbishop is Philip Richardson (Tikanga Pakeha), who has his cathedral in Taranaki.  The consecration was a wonderful service, with hundreds attending from across the diocese, and also the wider Communion.  The Maori Archbishop (Brown Turei) and Tikanga Pasefika Archbishop, Winston Halapua, shared in the consecration of Helen-Ann, along with Bishop Victoria Matthews and others.  Myles Hartley played the organ for the service, which gave the service a special ‘family feel’.

It was wonderful to have two former Cuddesdon ordinands present – Colin Datchler, now a Vicar in Wellington, NZ; and Nick Brown, Vicar of Louth in Lincolnshire.  In fact, it felt like something of a Cuddesdon Day.  Bishop Stephen Pickard (Professorial Research Fellow at Cuddesdon from 2011-12) preached the sermon.  And the Very Revd Peter Rickman (Dean of Waikato Cathedral) and the Very Revd Jamie Allen (Dean of Taranaki Cathedral) both trained at Cuddesdon.

With Helen-Ann’s consecration, an important and timely new chapter in church history has been written.  Helen-Ann is the first English woman to be trained in the Church of England to become an Anglican bishop.  That this happened in 2014 is also significant.  Seventy years ago, in 1944, Bishop R O Hall ordained the first woman to the priesthood – a daring and prophetic move in the dark days of the Second World War.

Hall was the Anglican Bishop of Hong Kong, and in 1944 made proper provision for the pastoral and priestly oversight of refugees in Macau.  Hall ordained Li Tim Oi, who then ministered to refugees in Macau, which as a neutral Portuguese colony, had not been overrun by the Japanese during the Second World War.  Hall had trained at Cuddesdon at the end of the First World War.

So, 70 years on from Bishop Hall ordaining Li Tim Oi, we rejoice with the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki in their appointment of Helen-Ann as their seventh bishop.  And we pray for Helen-Ann too – that she may have the strength, wisdom and vision needed for this new work.

Celebrating our women priests

by Jo Duckles

A PENTECOST celebration to mark the 20-year anniversary of the ordination of women priests will be held in the Oxford Diocese in 2014.

Dawn French with women priests at the Make Poverty History march in 2005.

Dawn French with women priests at the Make Poverty History march in 2005.

Some of the first women to be ordained in the UK along with those who campaigned for women priests will be at the Eucharist at Christ Church Cathedral and the exhibition and panel discussion at St Mary the Virgin on Oxford’s High Street. The Revd Rose Hudson Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, and Professor Helen King, a General Synod member and licensed lay preacher will be among those on the panel, along with the Rt Revd Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham and a young curate.

The idea for the service came from lay people in the Diocese of Oxford who felt the campaign that led up to the ordination of women priests should be celebrated and was welcomed by our four bishops.

The Rt Revd Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, is one of the speakers. He said: “I am very much looking forward to this celebration of all that women bring to ordained ministry in our diocese. Sadly, we have a mountain to climb to tackle institutional sexism in the Church, but this has to mark an important staging post on our way, as a church, from treating this as a problem or issue, and towards fully accepting the gifts and calling of what they are, as they are expressed in both men and women’s lives.”

The Revd Dr Amanda Bloor, one of the organisers, said: “We are celebrating people who have worked so hard in the past to allow the full inclusion of women in the Church of England and to track all the incredible achievements that have happened over 20 years and to look to the future. This isn’t the end of something, it is a stage on the journey.”

The Revd Judith Maltby, chaplain of Corpus Christi College will be chairing the panel. Judith was one of the first 70 women priests to be ordained in the Oxford Diocese 20 years ago. “The idea of the round table is to respond to the past but also to talk about the way things are in the church and to look forward to the future, to coming of women in the episcopate. I hope challenging and encouraging things will come out of that round table. We shouldn’t be complacent and we must think about the future challenges that are ahead of us.”

She said that 10 years ago, a similar anniversary service was held, with the Rt Revd Jane Dixon from America preaching. “It was interesting hearing her reflections. We haven’t looked abroad this time. We have felt we can do it ourselves which may be a sign of maturity and confidence.” Reflecting on 20 years as an ordained minister, Judith said: “I think one of the nicest things is that I now don’t know all of the women priests. At first I knew all of them but now it’s a good feeling that there are so many women in ordained ministry. It’s nice that an 18-year-old now can’t remember a church that didn’t have women as ministers.”

 

A national celebration will
take place on 3 May at St Paul’s
Cathedral in London. All are
welcome at the Oxford Diocesan
service at Christ Church
Cathedral on 7 June at 11am.
As the Door went to press
General Synod was preparing
to meet to discuss legislation to
allow women to become bishops
in the Church of England.