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LONDON — The Church of England appointed its first female bishop Wednesday, ending centuries of male-only tradition. Reverend Libby Lane, 48, will be the new Bishop of Stockport in northern England following a change to church rules in July.

“It is an unexpected joy to be here today," Lane said in her acceptance speech, according to Reuters. "I am conscious this morning of countless women and men who for decades have looked forward to the time when the Church of England would announce its first woman bishop.” Women serve as bishops in the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand but Anglican churches in many developing countries do not ordain them as priests. Lane, whose husband is a priest, plays the saxophone in her spare time and is a supporter of Manchester United.



- Alastair Jamieson

Reuters contributed to this report.