1. ITV Report

Female bishop has a unique insight ahead of Church of England vote

Helen-Ann Hartley was recently installed as Bishop of Waikato. Credit: Helen-Ann Hartley

As the Church of England votes again on proposals to allow female bishops to be ordained, one member of the clergy with a unique insight says she is hopeful of the role being opened up to all.

The Rt Rev Helen-Ann Hartley is the first female priest ordained in the Church of England to have been ordained a bishop, having been installed as Bishop of Waikato in New Zealand earlier this year.

She told ITV News her call to take the position in the country - where the first female bishop was ordained in 1989 - was "utterly unexpected and unsought for", but says she has loved the experience.

She has said seeing women bishops from other parts of the Anglican Communion revolutionised her thinking, and is now keen to see today's vote allow for the same to be seen back home.

"I rejoice in being part of a Province that has experienced the ministry of women as bishops for the past 20 years or so, and look forward to seeing this important leadership role opened up more fully to the gifts of all regardless of gender," she said.

Hartley was born in Edinburgh and moved to Sunderland as a child.

The 40-year-old cleric was ordained in 2005, working in rural parishes near Oxford before her move to New Zealand.

She says she is "deeply grateful" that the Church of England is "part of my own journey".

Another British-born woman, the Rt Rev Penny Jamieson, was the first woman to be consecrated a diocesan bishop in the Anglican Communion when she was made the seventh bishop of Dunedin in New Zealand.