She is the first woman bishop in Norfolk and Waveney and the first suffragan bishop to have been consecrated in Norwich Cathedral. Suffragan bishops are usually consecrated in London or York, but this was altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, the Bishop of London, as Dean of the Province of Canterbury, presided over the service on the feast day of St Etheldreda.
The particular role of a bishop – while remaining a deacon and priest – is to proclaim and guard the faith, to preside at the sacraments, to lead the Church’s prayer, and to hand on its ministry. During the service, Bishop Jane was asked to confirm her commitment to these priorities and all those present (in person and online) were asked to support her.
This was followed by the calling of the Holy Spirit and the laying on of hands. Bishop Jane was then anointed with sacred oil, signifying her role of leadership within the royal priesthood of Christ’s people, and given her ring and pectoral cross. She received a copy of the Bible, both to remind her of her duty to proclaim the Gospel and of the centrality of God’s Word.
The procession of the Cathedral Foundation moved to the east side of the pulpitum screen for the Installation of the Bishop of Lynn by the Dean of Norwich and to be prayed for by the College of Canons, using the prayer of St Benedict.
Following the sharing of communion, the Bishops Suffragan and Archdeacons of the Diocese of Norwich together with the Dean and Chapter of Norwich Cathedral, moved to stand around the Nave Altar. The Bishop of Norwich assisted the Bishop of London, giving the newly-ordained bishop a pastoral staff, symbolising her sharing in the ministry of Christ the Good Shepherd and saying:
“Keep watch over the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit has appointed you shepherd. Encourage the faithful, restore the lost, build up the Body of Christ.”
Bishop Jane mingled with the guests at the end of the service and afterward a picnic was held in the Bishop of Norwich’s garden. Refreshments were provided by local social enterprise, the Feed.
The Rt Revd Dr Jane Steen, The Bishop of Lynn said: “I feel humbled and honoured to be the first woman consecrated as a bishop in Norwich Cathedral. It is overwhelmingly beautiful, its stones saturated by the prayers of so many generations. To God be all its glory and may the Lord Jesus be with me as I go from here to serve in this wonderful diocese.”
The Rt Revd Graham Usher, the Bishop of Norwich, said: “Bishop Jane has a deep pastoral care for the people and communities that she served in Southwark and a rich experience of mission in the Church of England, including supporting church communities to flourish. She brings these aspects, together with her great sense of joy and fun, to the role of Bishop of Lynn. I am confident that she and Pip will soon come to love this diocese and its people. May we be a blessing to them, as they will be a blessing to us.”
The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark said: “In the new Bishop of Lynn, the Church of God receives a gift that has been significantly formed, we are glad to say, in the Diocese of Southwark. We wish Jane well as she begins this new phase of her ministry and we pray for her, and her husband Pip, and the people she will serve in the Diocese of Norwich.”