The Church of England’s first black female bishop has been consecrated in a ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who will take up her post as Bishop of Dover at the end of this month, was consecrated on Tuesday alongside Olivia Graham, who will become bishop of Reading.
Hudson-Wilkin, who was chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons for the past nine years, said: “Beginning this new ministry, there is a sense of awe in it all. But also something refreshing about being open to the new things that God has in store – not just for me as a person taking on this new leadership role, but for our diocese as a whole.
“I’m excited – I’ve got lots of new people to meet, to get to know, and that fills me with joy.”
The pair become the 24th and 25th women to be appointed bishops since the C of E’s general synod approved the move five years ago.
The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “When in October Rose stepped down as Chaplain to the Speaker, the tributes from all sides showed her pastoral, prophetic and faith-sharing gifts. Even in times of division she was a point of unity and hope, to those of any or no faith.
“Through much struggle and suffering in her life she has become one of the most exceptional of Christian leaders showing, in word and deed, confidence in Jesus Christ as life, liberty and love. We welcome her, warmly confident that God who has led her this far will walk with her and speak through her.”
When her appointment was announced in June, Welby described it as “groundbreaking and historic” and said it was one of the most exciting appointments the church had made for a long time.
Hudson-Wilkin, who was born in Jamaica, was ordained a priest in 1994, the first year the C of E allowed female clergy.