The Church of Ireland has appointed the first female Bishop in Ireland and the UK.
The Rev Pat Storey, rector of St Augustine’s in Derry, has been elected by the Church of Ireland as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare.
The married mother of two, who grew up in Belfast, said she was both “excited and daunted” by the historic appointment.
“I have had an extraordinarily happy experience in St Augustine’s and in this wonderful city, which I will be sad to leave,” she said.
“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, who are the best family in the world.”
Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin, said the appointment brings delight to many across the Church of Ireland and throughout the Anglican Communion.
“Pat herself brings to this work of God a warm personality and a breadth of spiritual gifts to share generously in the church and in the community,” he said.
Mrs Storey, 53, studied French and English at Trinity College, Dublin, before training at the Church of Ireland Theological College.
She was ordained a deacon in 1997 and a priest the following year. The bishop-elect has been rector of St Augustine’s in Derry since 2004.
She is married to the Rev Earl Storey and has two adult children, Carolyn, 25, and Luke, 22.
Mrs Storey will take over as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare from Dr Richard Clarke, who was appointed Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland last December.
The appointment was passed by the House of Bishops after the Episcopal Electoral College failed to elect a successor in May.
Dr Clarke, the Church of Ireland’s most senior leader, has known Mrs Storey since she was at Trinity College, Dublin, where he was chaplain.
“She is a person of great warmth, intelligence and spiritual depth and I am certain that her ministry in the Dioceses of Meath and Kildare and the wider Church will be a blessing to many,” he said.