St Albans vicar to become one of six female Bishops

St Albans Vicar to be bishop in Birmingham Diocese

St Albans Vicar to be bishop in Birmingham Diocese - Credit: Archant

A popular city centre vicar is to become one of the first women Bishops in England.

The Rev Anne Hollinghurst, vicar of St Peter’s Church, St Albans, said this week that she was “surprised, delighted and daunted” to become only the sixth female bishop in England and was looking forward to her new role as Bishop of Aston in Birmingham.

Anne, who has led St Peter’s since 2010, will be consecrated at St Paul’s Cathedral on September 29, before she begins her new service in October.

She said: “As one of the first six [female bishops] to be appointed it’s a very exciting time. We are very much on pioneering ground.”

The Rev Libby Lane became England’s first female bishop when she was made Bishop of Stockport in January this year and the Church of England has since appointed female bishops in Gloucester, Hull, Crediton and Taunton.

Anne said she was ready for the pressure of joining the growing list of female bishops and was keen for the church to appoint more.

“I hope in time to come there will be more of us. But in these initial stages I’m sure there will be some pressure.

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“I was there in the early days of women becoming priests and those of us who were ordained in those early days were conscious that all eyes are on you in a way that does put the pressure on.”

Despite not expecting to leave St Albans so soon, Anne insisted it was the right time. She explained: “Had I anticipated leaving St Peter’s quite as soon as this? No I hadn’t. I simply have to trust that God has good things in store for St Peter’s.”

“I will miss lots of things. I love St Albans; it’s been an absolutely fabulous place to be for five and a half years.”

Anne has also served the Diocese of St Albans as a member of the Church of England General Synod.

The worshipping community at St Peter’s has grown and diversified during her tenure and now includes Messy Church, Contemplative Fire and Forest Church gatherings.

The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Dr Alan Smith, said Anne was “well-fitted to a bishop’s ministry in the challenging, busy, urban context” of Birmingham and that “she will be good news for the people there”.

The Rev Jenny Hill, diocesan officer for the women’s ministry in St Albans, praised Anne’s “great wisdom, graciousness and sensitivity to people of different perspectives”, adding that she “has a breadth of experience while remaining grounded in parish ministry”.