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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 January 2007, 16:46 GMT
Woman to stand in for Archbishop
The Ven Sheila Watson
Ms Watson will take up her new post as Archdeacon from March
A woman is to represent the Archbishop of Canterbury at bishops' enthronement ceremonies for the first time.

Sheila Watson is due to take over as Archdeacon of Canterbury in March and will attend on behalf of the Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams.

Ms Watson, who is currently the Archdeacon of Buckingham, will be able to be present at ceremonies in 27 of England's 43 dioceses.

The move comes as the Church debates the appointment of female bishops.

The first woman primate in the Anglican communion, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, of the American Episcopal Church, took office in the United States in November 2006.

But conservative Anglicans are resisting further moves towards women being ordained in the role.

Ms Watson, who currently works in the Oxford Diocese, is the first woman to join the Archbishop's staff as a senior office holder.

She said: "I feel enormously privileged to be invited to join the team at Canterbury in both diocese and cathedral."




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