Rachel Treweek to become the new Bishop of Gloucester

Rachel Treweek Image copyright Gloucester Diocese
Image caption The Venerable Rachel Treweek will be enthroned in a ceremony at Gloucester Cathedral

The Church of England has appointed its most senior woman bishop.

The Venerable Rachel Treweek, 52, who is currently Archdeacon of Hackney in the diocese of London, will become the new Bishop of Gloucester.

She takes over the role from The Right Reverend Michael Perham, who retired in November.

Two women bishops have already been appointed, but Archdeacon Treweek is the first woman to run a diocese and will be one rank below archbishop.

It is understood she will also become the first female bishop to enter the House of Lords.

Archdeacon Treweek said it was was "an immense joy and privilege" to have been appointed.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Archdeacon Treweek said it was "an immense joy and privilege" to have been appointed Bishop of Gloucester

Analysis: Caroline Wyatt, BBC religious affairs correspondent

This marks the start of a new and important phase of women's long journey within the clergy, and towards wielding real power and influence in the established church.

The Ven Rachel Treweek has long been seen as a natural leader, and today said she wanted to be "a voice that speaks up for those who are marginalised; and a compassionate voice that speaks into lives and places which are hurting", while promising to start by listening to the concerns and needs of the diocese.

She has won admiration for her work in some of the toughest areas of London over many years, and for her enthusiastic and effective communication of the central messages of Christianity.

Her passion for her faith means she is unlikely to shrink from discussing politics from a Christian perspective, and many say she will add a new and compassionate voice on the red benches, especially in debates on the kind of society the UK is today.

The archdeacon describes her interests as walking and chocolate - and herself, on her Twitter feed, @VenRachel, as "more vulnerable than venerable".

"I am surprised and, I have to admit, even a little daunted by the prospect," she said.

"But my overwhelming feeling is one of excitement to be coming to join with others in sharing the love of Jesus Christ with the people of this diocese.

"I am looking forward to encouraging Christians to speak out with confidence about their faith and the good news that the Gospel brings.

"It will be my privilege to work with churches as we connect with people, wherever they are and whatever their concerns."

She will be formally enthroned at Gloucester Cathedral later this year.

The Venerable Rachel Treweek

Image copyright PA
  • Worked as a speech and language therapist for more than six years before being ordained
  • She previously served as curate at St George and All Saints, Tufnell Park, and became vicar of St James the Less, Bethnal Green in 1999
  • Was appointed as Archdeacon of Northolt in 2006 and has been archdeacon of Hackney since 2011
  • She has been a member of the General Synod since 2010
  • Archdeacon Treweek is married to Guy Treweek who is a priest in the Diocese of London

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