THE election of the first-ever female bishop in the Church of Ireland has been welcomed by Mid Ulster MLA Sandra Overend.
Rev Pat Storey enters the male-dominated House of Bishops as the bishop of Meath and Kildare, succeeding the church primate the Rev Dr Richard Clarke.
UUP assembly member Sandra Overend, a member of the church hailed the election as a progressive move.
“This is a progressive step by the Church and one which is deserved entirely on the merits of Rev Storey’s previous works.
“I am sure that Rev Storey will handle her new role with the same grace and ability with which she held her previous roles. I would like to take this opportunity to say that my prayers are with Pat, her husband and family as they make this move, and to wish her God’s richest blessings in her new role.”
The Rev Storey, 53, has been rector of St Augustine’s church in Derry City since 2004, having previously served as a curate in Ballymena; as team rector in Glenavy and a part-time worker co-ordinator with the Church of Ireland youth department. Her husband is the Rev Earl Storey, also a Church of Ireland cleric.
The new bishop said she was “excited, but daunted” by the appointment.
“I have had an extraordinarily happy experience at St Augustine’s church and in this wonderful city of Londonderry which I will be sad to leave.
“However, I count it an enormous privilege to begin a new phase of my ministry with the people of Meath and Kildare, and I look forward to working with the team of clergy who are already there.
“I would sincerely ask for your prayers for myself and my family.”
Church primate Dr Clarke recalled that Pat Storey was an undergraduate when he was chaplain at Trinity College in Dublin. “I very much welcome her as a new bishop; she is a person of great warmth, intelligence and spiritual depth.”