Bishop of Stockport

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Elizabeth Jane Holden “Libby” Lane (born 1966) is a Church of England bishop. Since 15 January 2015, she has been the Bishop of Stockport, a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Chester. She is the first woman to be appointed as a bishop by the Church of England, after its General Synod voted in July 2014 to allow women to become bishops. Her consecration took place on 26 January 2015 at York Minster.


 Libby Lane The Bishop of Stockport

© Mark Waugh

Lane was born as Elizabeth Jane Holden in Wycombe Rural District, Buckinghamshire, and raised in Glossop, Derbyshire. She was educated at Manchester High School for Girls, an independent girls’ school. In 1986, she matriculated into St Peter’s College, Oxford, where she studied theology. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1989; this was later promoted to a Master of Arts (MA Oxon) degree under the statutes and customs of the university. From 1991 to 1993, she studied for ordination at Cranmer Hall, Durham University.

Libby Lane The Bishop of Stockport

© Mark Waugh

On 17 December 2014, it was announced that Lane was to become the Bishop of Stockport, a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Chester. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, called her appointment “historic” and “an important step forward for the Church towards greater equality in its senior positions.” She was consecrated at York Minster on 26 January 2015 by John Sentamu, Archbishop of York. When the archbishop asked the congregation if Lane should be consecrated as a bishop the service was briefly interrupted by a priest, Paul Williamson, who exclaimed “It’s not in the Bible” and called Lane’s being a woman an “absolute impediment”. There was no opposition when Sentamu – having carefully explained the legality of the act – asked a second time.

One of the first duties that Lane undertook as a bishop was her involvement in the consecration service for Philip North as the Bishop of Burnley on 2 February 2015. North is a traditionalist Anglo-Catholic who does not accept the ordination of women. Therefore, Lane and all but three other bishops did not take part in the laying on of hands. Instead, they gathered in prayer around North with only the three bishops “who share his theological conviction regarding the ordination of women” laying their hands on him. She was installed at Chester Cathedral on 8 March 2015, International Women’s Day, signally the official start of her ministry as Bishop of Stockport.

What is a Bishop:

a senior member of the Christian clergy, usually in charge of a diocese and empowered to confer holy orders.














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