Sunderland woman is already a bishop - in New Zealand

Helen-Ann Hartley

Helen-Ann Hartley

First published in News

ONE woman from the North-East ordained a priest in the Church of England is already a bishop - and with very little fanfare or publicity.

The Rt Rev Helen-Ann Hartley, who was born in Edinburgh and moved to Sunderland as a child, was the first female priest ordained in the Church of England to become a bishop when she was installed as Bishop of Waikato in New Zealand earlier this year.

The 40-year-old cleric was ordained in 2005 and began her ministry working in rural parishes near Oxford. Before moving to New Zealand in 2011, she was director of Biblical studies and lecturer at Ripon theological college, Cuddesdon, Oxfordshire.

She once told the New Yorker magazine that seeing women bishops from other parts of the Anglican Communion wearing mitres at a conference "blew her away" and made her "see bishops in a new way".

Another British-born woman, the Rt Rev Penny Jamieson, was the first woman to be consecrated a diocesan bishop in the Anglican Communion when she was made the seventh bishop of Dunedin in New Zealand. Bishop Jamieson, who was consecrated in 1990 and retired in 2004, was born in Chalfont St Giles, Bucks. A graduate of Edinburgh University, she settled in Wellington after marrying a New Zealander.

The Rt Rev Pat Storey, who grew up in Belfast, became the UK and Ireland's first woman bishop when she was consecrated at a service last year in Dublin as Bishop of Meath and Kildare in the Republic of Ireland.

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