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Faith Matters

First female bishop in Wales consecrated

Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, after he consecrated Joanna Penberthy. Picture by The Church in Wales/PA Wire

WALES has consecrated its first female bishop in a move hailed as the culmination of a "long and hard journey".

Joanna Penberthy was ordained as the 129th Anglican Bishop of St Davids at a bilingual service at Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff.

The historic moment, conducted by Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan, was watched by more than 500 people, many of whom later cheered her exit, the Church in Wales said.

She was anointed with oil and presented with her symbols of office by Dr Morgan and the Church's five other bishops.

The Church decided to allow female bishops in 2013.

In his sermon, the Archbishop said: "The consecration of the first woman as a diocesan bishop demonstrates clearly that the Church in Wales acknowledges that women as well as men can now be ordained as bishops ... but it has to be remembered that Joanna's election was determined not by her gender but by her gifts."

He added: "It has been a long and hard journey for women - first to be made deacon, then priest and now bishop.

"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."

The newest bishop has held several roles in the Welsh clergy, including the rector of Glan Ithon. In November last year, she was elected to be Wales' first female bishop by members of the electoral college.

She said: "I didn't think at the beginning of my ministry that I would ever see women in the episcopate but you had to keep believing.

"What was important was living out the calling that we had at that time and, by doing so, opening people's eyes to the fact that God doesn't just call men, God calls all of us to his ministry in a way which fits our own particular gifts and talents."

She will be enthroned at St Davids Cathedral, west Wales, on February 11.

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