It's a historic first for the Anglican Church in the U.K. and Ireland

In a historic first for the Anglican Church in the U.K. and Ireland, and a victory for the campaign for gender equality in the church, a woman was consecrated as a bishop at a service at the Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin on Saturday.

Rev Pat (Patricia) Storey, 53, was the rector of St Augustine's in Londonderry. She was elected in September by the Church of Ireland as the new bishop of Meath and Kildare.

The two dioceses of Meath and Kildare lie in the eastern part of the Republic of Ireland. They were amalgamated into a single administrative unit 35 years ago.

While the Anglican churches in Scotland, Wales and Ireland have the power to appoint woman bishops, the Church of Ireland – whose territories include Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – is the only one to have done so. The Church of England does still not allow women to be elected bishop.

"Pat herself brings to this work of God a warm personality and a breadth of spiritual gifts to share generously in the church and in the community," media reports quoted the Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson as saying after Rev Storey’s election this September.

Rev Pat Storey is married to Rev Earl Storey and has two children who are now adults.

According to a Church of Ireland release, Rev Storey studied at the Methodist College, Belfast, and then at Trinity College, Dublin, where she studied modern languages. She started her religious training only in her mid-30’s.

She is a member of the Church’s Select Committee on Human Sexuality. Rev Storey’s elevation is a shot in the arm for those who have been campaigning for gender equality within the Church of England.

While welcoming her appointment, the forum WATCH (Women and the Church) pointed out that the Church of England remained “the only of the four Anglican churches within the UK and Ireland not to appoint women as bishops.”

In fact, one of Rev Storey’s early engagements will be to launch the With Dignity and Grace, a life of the doyenne of the women’s ordination movement in the Church of Ireland, Daphne Wormell, who died in 2001.

“In her will Mrs Wormell made provision for a cross to be presented to the first woman bishop in the Church of Ireland and this will be presented to Bishop Storey at the book launch,” the Church of Ireland announced.

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