Photo Credit: Diocese of Chester
From the Diocese of Chester
Libby Lane – the first woman bishop in the history of the Church of England – was formally installed as the eighth Bishop of Stockport at Chester Cathedral on International Women’s Day, Sunday 8 March 2015.
More than 1,900 people from across the historic county of Cheshire attended the installation, which was part of a service of choral evensong.
The occasion started with a procession and the choir singing the Introit, followed by the Bishop of Birkenhead, Keith Sinclair, welcoming Bishop Libby and inviting others to express their greetings.
The Bishop of Chester, Peter Forster, then invited the Dean of Chester, Gordon McPhate, to install Libby as the Bishop of Stockport.
Bishop Libby took her place in her stall and the Dean called for the blessing of God to rest upon her in all her duty and charge. She was presented with her pastoral staff and welcomed by the civic and faith communities from across the Diocese of Chester. During the service she preached on the theme of the confidence that humans have, knowing that they are loved by God.
Among the guests were: the chief executive officer of Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council; the mayors of Trafford, Tameside, Cheshire East, Stockport, and Chester boroughs; and the High Sheriffs and Lord Lieutenants of Cheshire and Greater Manchester.
The installation marked the formal start of Bishop Libby's new ministry in our diocese. She said: “I treasure the remarkable welcome extended to me in my new ministry as Bishop of Stockport by people across the Diocese of Chester.
“The service of installation during evensong at the cathedral felt like a homecoming. It was wonderful that so many wanted to share that occasion, and I particularly extend my appreciation to those who could not be present because requests to attend outstripped even the cathedral's capacity, but who supported me in prayer nonetheless. Our whole family is very grateful for the love and support that we have received.
"I look forward now to settling into this new ministry. On the day of my announcement I expressed my gratitude – to the Diocese of Chester for the confidence placed in me, to those who have gone before me, to God for His faithfulness to us, to Christ, whose love for me is the source of all am and all I will be doing. I continue to feel deeply grateful for the honour of this calling and the privilege of exercising it in this place.
“Expectations are high, and I too am excited by the possibilities and challenges ahead. I echo what I said in my statement at my announcement – the church faces wonderful opportunities, to proclaim afresh, in this generation, the Good News of Jesus and to build His Kingdom. I am delighted to be engaging with that task in an area I know and love and among people I value so highly. But I do know I'll need people to be patient and understanding – about the time it will take for me to address all that is already waiting for me, and for the mistakes I will inevitably make on the way. So I ask for continued prayer – God our Father, hear our prayer for all your faithful people, that, each in our vocation and ministry may be an instrument of your love, and give to us the needful gifts of grace.”
Bishop Libby, aged 48, was previously Vicar of Hale and Ashley in the Chester Diocese from 2007-14. She is married to the Revd George Lane, coordinating chaplain at Manchester Airport. They were one of the first married couples in the Church of England to be ordained together. She has also held other roles in our diocese, including: Team Vicar in the Stockport South West Team; Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands; Family Life Officer for the Diocesan Committee for Social Responsibility; and Chair of the Diocesan Children’s Committee.
The Dean of Chester, Gordon McPhate, said: “We were honoured to welcome the Bishop of Stockport and her supporters to the installation service at the cathedral. It was a day of worship and celebration – for men and women alike – as a new chapter was created in the Church of England.”