Meet Britain's other first female bishop

Oscar Quine@oscarquine
Saturday 27 December 2014 09:00
Celebrities

What about Libby Lane?

The sharper ones among you may point out that we have perhaps overdone the Christmas merriment, as it is a well-known fact that the Reverend Libby Lane took this title last week.

But we’re afraid to say that Rebecca Howarth beat her to the title – becoming, at the age of 11, the country’s first female bishop in the week of the Church of England adopting legislation to allow women to be appointed to that role.

But she’s only 11…

Which is a crucial part of why she got the gig. The Manchester schoolgirl was named “girl bishop” at her local Oldham Parish Church at the start of this month – and she’s in charge until the Epiphany on January 6.

In charge?

Keep your paper hat on. It’s an annual tradition, dating back to the Middle Ages. And while the church has previously taken on a number of boy bishops, Rebecca is the first girl to take over from the serving Bishop of Manchester. He symbolically steps down from his duties – leaving a young parishioner at the helm for the festive period.

So, free fizzy pop and gummy sweets for all?

Far from it. Rebecca says she got the role as she is a devout churchgoer, attending every Sunday. Reflecting on her appointment in the Telegraph, she stressed the importance of prayer over the festive period.

“While you hold this office, will you pray regularly for the people of this parish and for all those who need your prayers?” she wrote. “I said I would, but I know that sometimes it is hard to find time to pray and also hard to keep your mind from wandering to other things which are going on in our busy lives.”

More: Meet the people who have to work on Christmas Day

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