New Bishop of False Bay Margaret Vertue.

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa has consecrated its first female bishop in South Africa, Margaret Vertue, the new head of the diocese of False Bay.

Vertue is the second woman to be consecrated as a bishop in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, following Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland, inducted last year.

Vertue was consecrated yesterday by Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba at a service at the University of Stellenbosch.

The consecration of the two women has been hailed as signalling a progressive phase for the church in Africa. It flies in the face of the recent decision by the Church of England not to approve the consecration of women as bishops.

The difference in policy on female bishops was the subject of comments by speakers at Vertue’s installation, with Methodist bishop Michel Hansrod saying the ordination of women was a privilege not shared by all.

Canon John Ford from the Diocese of York expressed the hope that the Church of England would shortly follow the example of Anglicans in Africa.

“Where Africa leads, England may follow,” he told Vertue, asking her to “pray for us in England in our brokenness that we soon may celebrate this day”.

Vertue, who succeeds retired Bishop Merwyn Castle, was one of the first two women ordained at St George’s Cathedral in September 1992. - Weekend Argus