CoI appoints first female Anglican Bishop in Ireland or Britain

Put simply, on the day Pope Francis called for greater involvement of women in the life of the Catholic Church, the Anglo Catholic Church in Ireland (aka, the Church of Ireland) acted to appoint the first woman bishop in these islands

The Revd Pat Storey (53) has been Rector of St Augustine’s, Londonderry (Derry and Raphoe) since 2004. She is married to the Revd Earl Storey and has two adult children, Carolyn and Luke, and a son–in–law Peter. Having grown up in Belfast and studied French and English at Trinity College, Dublin, she trained at the Church of Ireland Theological College (now Institute) and was ordained deacon in 1997 and priest in 1998. She served a Curacy in Ballymena (Connor) and was a Team Vicar in Glenavy (Connor) and a part–time Youth Worker Co–ordinator with the Church of Ireland Youth Department. Among Central Church participation, she is a member of the Standing Committee of the General Synod. The Revd Pat Storey becomes the first woman to be appointed a bishop in the Church of Ireland.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • glenda lough

    ‘The Anglo-Catholic Church (aka the Church of Ireland)’ shurely shome mistake there Mr Fealty. My terminally ill nephew Aubrey recently expelled from his 8th hospice for anti-social behaviour tells me the CoI is really some of the Unionist parties at prayer and continues to provide ministers to act as chaplains for the Orange Order (which it founded). Add anti-catholic Canon Law to the mix and garnish with a bowler hat. Good luck nevertheless to Mother Storey; though if you want to see her in a mitre and cope you’ll have to wait a long time.

  • socaire

    It’s not the church of ireland it’s the established church

  • Reader

    socaire: It’s not the church of ireland it’s the established church
    There’s no other Church claiming the title is there? And it’s not as though other Churches don’t make rather grandiose claims in their titles.

  • Mick Fealty

    Established? Not since the Irish Church Act of 1869. Teach me for giving people a reason not to discuss the topic in hand! 😉

  • Alan N/Ards

    Very brave step by the church. I don’t know her personally, but friends who do, speak highly of her. Well done the COI.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Interesting how quickly everything homes in on the ambiguities of words! Of course you’re right Mick, the Church of Ireland defines itself as a part of the “Catholic” or “Universal” church.

    Anglo Catholic is usually thought of as the “smells and bells” wing of the Anglican communion, although, in my experience it can field any number of people supporting woman’s ordination and other “liberal’ issues alongside the hard core no women here priests. So the simple Right/Left — Anglo Catholic/Evangelical perception does not really hold water.

    When I had an exibition of my paintings in Dublin some time back I met a number of new Anglo-Catholic converts from Roman Catholicism, attracted by the relative liberalism of the Anglo-Catholicism. The Church of Ireland in the ROI can be quite a different creature to the CoI in the North, having far less of the seeming need to historically define itself against Roman Catholicism.

    And good fortune to Pat Storey in her new and demanding calling.

  • Alanbrooke

    Seaan UiNeill

    I think your slightly off course with that observation. I’d argue that the reason the CoI has a harder edge in the North is because it defines itself against Presbyterianism rather than Catholicism.,

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I can only write from my experiences, Alanbrooke, but yes, Presbyterianism comes into the reckoning! I’d agree that the CoI does not want to look too Calvanist, but both the CoI and the Presbyterians have a long, long tradition of defining themselves against the “Romanists” as they frequently put it. I remember a CoI cleric apologising to me for the plain Cross on the altar that I noticed while he was showing me over his church. As someone decended from a long thread of CoI and Episcopal Church of Scotland Bishops, I’m acutely aware of the hair splitting that goes on, but I’d still see Rome as unfortunately a greater Bête Noire for our clergy above Newry than even the Wee Frees.

  • As a long-uncommitted agnostic, I like a lot of ritual with my non-worship. And the music is great. Hence I’m a great fan of Anglo-Catholicism (in the same way I routinely check certain football results).

    My formative fall from faith came from the mundanity of the CoI — so, well done on Bishop Pat, for Meath has often been the stepping-stone to the archiespiscopal throne. That really would put a feline among the a columbidae.

    There used to be a couple of Dublin fanes (not “fans”: if you need to, look it up) where the odd smell or bell intruded — as the best example, St Bartholmew’s, for the refined D4 set.

    The stumbling block to truly theatrical flummery was the interpretation of Article 22 of the 39 Articles:

    The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

    That meant, in the lowest-church days of the last mid-century that the altar was a crucifix-free zone. St Bart’s got round that one with a kind of parrot-perch before the altar

    Of course, horses for courses, and the Black North still frowns on frivolities.

    Interesting (perhaps) is how the CoI (as in Article 24) has always been keen on the use of the vernacular, which meant in the past (and in the wildest recesses of the West), you’d hit upon occasional services conducted in Irish. And some very nationalist clerics.

    For those of a theatrical turn, who want a thorough-going Anglo-Catholic experience, you’d need to look for a reliable listing: wikipedia has one. Look, too, for references to John Keble, John Henry Newman (who, of course, crossed the line) and Edward Pusey. Check out “tractarians” and “the Oxford Movement”. The “mother church” of the tradition may well be St Mary Magdalen, in the heart of Oxford: you’ll always get “Mass” rather than “Holy Commugers”; and certainly no evangelical nonsense. Even so, St Mary Magdalen is too “moderate” for some. Friskiness meets its acme, of course, at Walsingham.

    Oh, and the odour of sanctity at Ely Cathedral is so strong it has set off the fire alarms (Easter, 2011). Allegedly, death-watch beetle can’t abide it.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Malcolm Redfellow
    “the Black North still frowns on frivolities.”

    I once had the strange experience of excusing the flying of military flags inside a CoI cathedral to a large group of Europeans.

    I wish someone would explain it to me 🙂

  • Mc Slaggart @ 8:33 pm:

    In a phrase, “the church militant”? For me, defined in Ephesians 6:12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    J C Squire (1884-1958) did for the worst excess of that with:

    God heard the embattled nations sing and shout
    “Gott strafe England” and “God save the King!”
    God this, God that, and God the other thing –
    “Good God!” said God, “I’ve got my work cut out!”

    Anyway, since the “Established Church” (until Gladstone set about his “mission … to pacify Ireland” — and stop sniggering at the back, there!) was the Viceregency at prayer, where else would the Castle authorities stow redundant drapery?

    The Anglican churches are not unique: I’ve seen banners elsewhere. It’s quite rare to find any American church, of any denomination, without a Stars and Stripes. Veterans’ Day can be quite a flag-fest.

    French churches commonly display banners captured in battle: try Eglise St Louis at les Invalides for the most obvious case. Some of those survive from the Duc de Luxembourg’s victory (Neerwinden, 1693) over William of Orange.

    Germany (and the Netherlands) are the exception, where secularisation is the long-standing norm.

  • between the bridges

    As a catholic orangeman i welcome this as yet another demonstration of the liberalism of the reformed faith…

  • Reader

    Mc Slaggart: I once had the strange experience of excusing the flying of military flags inside a CoI cathedral to a large group of Europeans.
    I hope you didn’t give them the impression it was just a local phenomenon?

  • between the bridges

    McS ”I once had the strange experience of excusing the flying of military flags inside a CoI cathedral to a large group of Europeans.” gee weren’t they lucky to get such an impartial tour guide…

  • Harry Flashman

    I recall visiting a CoI friend living in a nice area of west London and as we went home from the pub we passed a nice little Church of England church, clearly of some antiquity. I asked him did he ever pop in on a Sunday? He looked at it like it was some sort of damnable pit of apostasy and satanism and said, “there’s weird stuff goes on in there I can tell you”.

    After some explanation it became clear that a rather liberal, happy clappy vicar ran the joint and his sermons weren’t to my pal’s liking.

    It was the vitriolic “weird stuff” going on at the church that forced me to suppress a bit of a snigger.

    You see it was July 1998 and there was some stuff going on at a Church of Ireland church back in our own native soil involving howling mobs of, well they claimed to be congregants, attacking police and British soldiers with bricks, bottles, petrol bombs, fireworks and even gunfire.

    I can’t help but think that the sappy West London Anglicans who went to the church my friend disliked so much might have considered those activities somewhat weirder.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    For anyone on a shopping trip to London’s Oxford Street that runs across a weekend to Monday, and interested in some High Anglican “weird stuff,” I can recommend T.S. Elliot’s old stomping ground, “All Saint’s, Margeret Street”. All very Pugin with some wonderful music.

  • Son of Strongbow

    No need to travel to London to experience Anglicanism in all its glory. St George’s in High Street Belfast will hit the spot. That’s Belfast in the ‘Black North’ mind.

    Inside the church there’s enough candles and icons to disconcert the most rabid sectarian nationalist’s opinions of the CoI.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Always found St George’s a little too Evangelical/Low Church for my tastes.

    But different folks and all that…..

  • Harry Flashman @ 9:35 am:

    There’s an awful lot of the low-church stuff across London: I blame it on the baleful influence of “HTB” (Holy Trinity, Brompton) and that all-pervasive “Alpha course”. On the other hand, the hottest-bed of spikiness (frills’n’thrills, ding dong bell!) in West London must be the Church of the Ascension, Lavender Hill. Though I am open to correction.

    The Ascension is a mid-Victorian barn which came about in odd circumstances. It all started with the Oxford Movement and the Tractarians, and in particular Newman’s Tract 90 on the 39 Articles. As a result, the protestant authorities felt threatened by the enthusiasms engendered by the Tractarians.

    Now here’s a bit of English history only for addicts and nurds (like me).

    A parson in the West Country, George Gorham, had Calvinistic views on baptism — that it was “conditional”. Bishop Philpotts of Exeter refused Gorham’s preferment to a parish in Exeter. Gorham appealed through the Church courts, getting the raspberry, all the way up to the Privy Council (a lay body, but — thanks to the nature of the Established Church — having the last word). The Privy Council endorsed Gorham: Bishop Philpotts of Exeter took a holy fit (he even threatened the Arch of Canterbury with excommunication), and refused to accept the Privy Council’s ruling. This spat caused a number of CoE types to hive off to Rome — the most notable being the future Cardinal Henry Manning.

    The Gorham judgment had also inflamed the protestant/ low church CoE, especially in London (always prone to dismal low-church stuff: I blame it on the Cromwellians); and what ensued was termed the “ritual riots”, protestants breaking up anything spiky that attracted their dislike.

    Meanwhile the fragrant ladies of Pimlico had taken a shine to their new parson, the self-styled Fr John Bourdieu Wilkinson. With money from Lady Antrobus, her sister-in-law Jane Duff-Cooper, and Lady Jane Boston, the young widow of Lord Boston, Wilkinson built himself the Church of the Ascension, Lavender Hill — whither the admiring ladies removed themselves.

    As for Harry‘s “weird stuff”, scratch the Anglicans and you’ll find:

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

    By the way, can anyone explain why Hamlet, in that scene (Act I, scene ii) swears by St Patrick?

    Horatio: There’s no offence, my lord.
    Hamlet:Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
    And much offence too.Hardly relevant, but the nearest I can manage to a local connection (except Newman, perhaps) here.

  • Offence one:

    Note that I mucked up the second Hamlet quote by typing “slash-bblockquote” after “offence too”.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hello Malcolm Redfellow, Alpha is unfortunately not confined to HTB and London.

    Antrim born the Rev. Dr. Alistair Hanna is Chairman of “Alpha USA”* as well as the front man for the Bushmills Dunes Golf Resort which was so unbelievably successful in being forced through the planning process against strong NI Planning advice and the UNESCO designation of the area.


  • Newman

    Have known Pat Storey for many years and she is disarming straightforward and exudes the qualities one would wish to see in any Christian. She will, however, have her work cut out in the episcopal maelstrom as the C of I deals with outworking of same sex marriage and other “hot button” issues. Any ecclesial community that has to cope with a spectrum from Kathleen Schori to Peter Akinola deserves a certain respect.