My two girls are thrilled. Their school is buzzing with the news that a former pupil has become the first woman ordained in the Church of England to become a Bishop. What a role model to have in your School!
The only problem is that Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, a pupil in Benedict Biscop school in the 1970's, has had a long journey on the way to becoming a bishop. In fact, it's about as far a journey as possible. She is now a bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Waikato, New Zealand.
Helen-Ann, 40, who grew up in East Herrington, is the third woman to be bestowed with bishop’s the title on the Tasmanian Sea island.
It is a further break through in the quest for woman Bishop's in the Church of England, as is the news this week that the Church of Wales has approved the ordination of women into the episcopate.
But how long will it be before the Church in England gets with the programme? I'm thrilled for Helen-Ann, and I'm thrilled for Sunderland to get another first - but in truth I would like my little girls to grow up in a country where they can see their role models be female Bishops a bit closer to home than Tasmania!
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