Wales

Church in Wales' first woman bishop consecrated

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Media captionJoanna Penberthy consecrated as Church in Wales' first woman bishop

The Church in Wales' first woman bishop was consecrated at a ceremony in Cardiff on Saturday.

Canon Joanna Penberthy was consecrated as Bishop of St Davids at Llandaff Cathedral at 11:00 GMT.

She was elected to the position by members of the Electoral College in November.

The 56-year-old said being made bishop was "awe inspiring" while the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan described it as a "historic occasion".

Canon Penberthy, who was appointed the cathedral's first woman canon in 2007, took over the role from Wyn Evans.

The decision to allow women bishops was made following a vote in 2013.

Canon Penberthy, who was previously Rector of Glan Ithon, in the diocese of Swansea and Brecon, said: "While being made bishop is awe inspiring, I am very much looking forward to joining the people of St Davids diocese as we seek to live out and share our faith in the risen Christ."

She has previously spoken out about the discrimination she faced but said she could accept not everybody would be happy with her appointment.

Image copyright Church in Wales
Image caption The four women bishops together, Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Waikato and Taranaki in New Zealand; Bishop Joanna, of St Davids, Wales, Rachel Treweek, the Bishop of Gloucester, and Bishop Eva Brunne-Sweden from Sweden.

Dr Morgan, who carried out the consecration, said the women clergy in Wales had faced a "long struggle" to get to this point.

He said: "The great thing about our women clergy is that they did not give up or become cynical or bitter.

"They dared to trust and dared to hope and so are part of a long and distinguished company of people in the Old and New Testaments who trusted in God's promises and hoped against hope that all would be well."

He added: "What matters is not gender but suitability, character, gifts and that was why Joanna was elected as bishop."

Canon Penberthy will be enthroned at St Davids Cathedral on 11 February.

Image copyright Church in Wales
  • Born in Swansea and grew up in Cardiff
  • Educated at Cardiff High School and graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge, before training for the ministry at St John's College, Durham
  • Ordained as a deacon in 1987
  • Among the first women ordained as priests in Wales in 1997
  • Has served in the dioceses of Durham, Llandaff, St Asaph, St Davids, Bath and Wells, and, mostly recently, Swansea and Brecon
  • Appointed a canon at St Davids Cathedral in 2007
  • Married to Revd Adrian Penberthy and they have four children and one grandchild
  • Interests include quantum physics - she is currently studying for a PhD - reading and bird-watching

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