It was a day to remember, and a very early start! At 6.30am we left Whitegate Vicarage, as Canon Chris chauffeured Pauline, Sue Cameron and me to York Minster for the Consecration of Rev. Libby Lane. As Libby is the first woman to become a bishop in the Church of England, this of course was a significant milestone.
We were there in plenty of time, but the Nave was very full, mainly with ticket holders. We sat in the side aisle by the side of a large television screen in order to have a good view.
Minutes before the service started, a steward asked us if we would like to move into the Nave and sit on the chairs marked ' yellow ticket holders.' These were VIP seats. We were six rows from the front and could see the service without interruption of television screens. It was spectacular.
The service was very much female orientated. The Minster girls led us in singing. Libby's friend of long standing read the Old Testament reading. The New Testament reading was read by The Very Reverend Vivienne Faull, Dean of York. Another great friend, The Venerable Sarah Bullock, Archdeacon of York preached the sermon.
There were five women bishops who had travelled from various parts of the world.
At the laying on of hands, approximately fifty bishops were in attendance. The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, attended as a bishop visiting York Province.
It was then that the Reverend Libby Lane became the Right Reverend Libby Lane, Suffragan Bishop of Stockport.
The warmth and fellowship was palpable and Archbishop Sentamu led us in applause.
We were delighted to see former Bishops of Stockport and Birkenhead and a bonus was chatting to Bishop Donald Allister of Peterborough.
With such numbers in the Minster, communion was given out at several different places. However, because of the kind steward moving us into the Nave, we received from Bishop Libby herself.
We all felt we were part of a unique occasion, and extremely proud that the first woman bishop is from the Diocese of Chester.