June Osborne Bishop of Llandaff is one of the most senior clerics in the Church of England. She has led the way for women to break through the ‘stained glass’ ceiling and become ordained ministers rising through the ranks of the church hierarchy.
Groundbreaking moments have included
First woman admitted to Wycliffe Hall Theological College
Made one of the first women deacons in the Church of England (1987)
Ordained one of the first women priests (1994)
First woman Dean of a medieval cathedral (2004)
Consecrated Bishop of Llandaff (2017)
Bishop June was appointed Cannon Treasurer to Salisbury Cathedral in 1995 and subsequently became Dean, a position she served in until 2017 when she was consecrated Bishop of Llandaff.
June Osborne was born in 1953 in Manchester. In an interview with Wales on Line she described her childhood as follows:
“I was born into an industrial, northern, inner-city family. My parents were poor and my father was an alcoholic and my family malfunctioning.
I went to the local primary school and my prospects were that I’d do what my mother and grandmother did and I would work in a factory or be a seamstress or work in a fish and chip shop. My family was in a state of dysfunction and I know what it is like not to know if you’re to eat and not to know if you’re going to be safe.”
Bishop June credits her teachers and a school system that raised her from her domestic circumstances and gave her a chance to achieve for her success in following her dream.
After attending Manchester University where she graduated in Sociology she moved to Oxford to work for the Anglican Church. Taking up a place at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford to undertake ordination training, she was the first woman to attend the previously all-male college. She was made one of the first women deacons in 1987.
During these years she became a powerful advocate for the ordination of women and was credited by The Times for a speech that swung the General Synod vote in favour of female priests. She was ordained to the priesthood in 1994, one of the first women to be ordained in England.
The Salisbury Years
In 1995 Bishop June was appointed Cannon Treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral until her appointment as Dean in 2004. She was only the second woman to be appointed to the role of Dean and the first woman to be appointed Dean of a medieval cathedral.
During her time in Salisbury she oversaw the majority of the Cathedral’s 30-year Major Repair Programme of essential work to restore the fabric of the Cathedral and safeguard it for the future. As Canon Treasurer and Dean she was instrumental in the commissioning of Salisbury Cathedral’s much-loved and admired William Pye font and, in a Cathedral that has often been pioneering and had already established the first girls’ choir in an English cathedral, she championed the installation of the girl Chorister Bishop in 2015, another historic first for the Cathedral.
Looking further afield Bishop June is also deeply concerned about global poverty and has worked with the Episcopal Church of the Sudan on health, theological education and advocacy. She has played a key role in the Communion’s commitment to implementing the Millennium Development Goals, and was a member of the Government’s Advisory Panel for the Commemoration of WW1.
Onwards and upwards
In 2017 June was consecrated Bishop of Llandaff. Congratulating her on her appointment the Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam Bishop of Salisbury “June Osborne is one of the Church of England’s leading clerics. For the last 13 years she has been an outstanding Dean of Salisbury. She has made significant contributions to the wider Church of England including helping to organise the Leading Women group which has been massively influential in growing women into positions of leadership in the Church.”
Bishop June has kindly agreed to an interview which will replace this article later in the year