IN PICTURES: Libby Lane consecrated at York Minster>>

CHEERS and prolonged applause rang out at York Minster as history was made with the consecration of the Church of England's first female bishop.

Hundreds of Christians from as far away as New Zealand, South Africa and America headed to York yesterday to see the Right Reverend Libby Lane made Bishop of Stockport.

There was a mood of celebration and euphoria, particularly among female members of the clergy, but the atmosphere was briefly darkened when the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, asked the congregation if it was their will for her to be ordained.

As the congregation roared "It is!" the Reverend Paul Williamson stepped forward to challenge the legality of the consecration, saying: "No, not in my name," - only to be told by the Archbishop it was fully legal, and he was ushered out by Minster Police.

York Press:
 Lone protester the Rev Paul Williamson

Church spokesman Arun Arora said afterwards that the Rev Williamson was a "serial protester" whose lone voice had contrasted with the "sea of voices" affirming the new bishop.

The service, which was rich in colour and ceremony, involved Dr Sentamu and more than 100 bishops and archbishops from around the world gathering round the new bishop and laying hands on her.

Dr Sentamu also anointed her with oil, and presented her with a Bible and a bishop’s staff.

Bishop Libby said afterwards she had been encouraged by thousands of messages of support she had received since news of her appointment was announced.

She said she found all the personal and media attention centred on her a little overwhelming, adding: "I cannot possibly live up to everyone’s expectation.

“Thank you to all who are praying for me and partying with me today."

Supporters gathered outside the Minster hailed the consecration. The Rev erendJanet Bellamy, 69, of Shropshire, said: “I’m delighted it’s happened. It’s long overdue and and the reasons for that are very complicated. The church of all places should be a place which is inclusive and people should be treated equally.”

Jean Richards, 69, of Kirkbymoorside, said: “It’s an historic moment – long overdue. My interest is partly from the feminist point of view. I think it’s completely outrageous the way that men have dominated the church.”

York Press:

The Reverend Elizabeth Baxter, of Holy Rood House, Thirsk, who has been campaigning since the 1980s for female bishops and was one of the first women to be ordained as a priest, said: “It’s wonderful – it’s a fantastic occasion and I could not have missed it.”

Venerable Jan McFarlane, who is the Archdeacon of Norwich as well as an old friend of Libby's, said: "We are making history. It really is a huge day."

IN PICTURES: Libby Lane consecrated at York Minster>>

Footage from Libby Lane's consecration in York Minster including the interuption by Reverend Paul Williamson.