The Church of Ireland has appointed its first ever woman bishop as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare.
Fifty-three-year-old Revd Pat (Patricia) Storey is married with two adult children and is currently Rector of St Augustine’s Parish in Derry.
She succeeds the Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Richard Clarke of Armagh, in the role.
Responding to the news, Archbishop Clarke said he was “certain that her ministry in the Dioceses of Meath and Kildare and the wider Church will be a blessing to many.”
The appointment of Bishop-elect Storey is a new departure for the Church of Ireland and indicates the more progressive ethos within the Anglican community in Ireland compared to the Church of England, where opposition to women bishops among traditionalists has stalled the process.
A structure to facilitate this opposition has led to the setting up of ‘flying bishops’ to serve those parishes opposed to any future appointment of a female bishop.
Bishop-elect Story grew up in Belfast and studied French and English at Trinity College, Dublin. She trained at the Church of Ireland Theological College and was ordained a priest in 1998. She has served in Ballymena and was a vicar in Glenavy and a part-time Youth Worker Co-ordinator with the Church of Ireland Youth Department.
The appointment of Bishop-elect Story follows the decision by Archdeacon Leslie Stevenson to decline the role following his selection last January.
His decision followed revelations last February of an affair in the 1990s with a parishioner while rector at Donaghadee, Co Down.