Gloucester bishop Rachel Treweek to take seat in Lords

Rachel Treweek Image copyright Gloucester Diocese
Image caption The Right Reverend Rachel Treweek is the first woman to run a diocese

The most senior female bishop in the Church of England is set to take her seat in the House of Lords.

The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Rev Rachel Treweek, will be introduced as one of 26 Lords Spiritual by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Bishop of London Richard Chartres.

As a diocesan bishop, she is the first woman with enough Church seniority to be appointed to the House of Lords.

She will take the parliamentary oath before taking a place on the benches.

Bishop Treweek sent back the first version of the writ of summons because it termed her a "right reverend father in God". Instead, it will describe her as "bishop".

In an interview, she said she wanted to gently challenge people - and that God should be seen as neither a male nor a female figure but simply as God.

On gender equality within the Church, Bishop Treweek says there is a long way still to go, even though it is more than 20 years since the first women were ordained.

She has also been critical of the lack of diversity within the Church, calling for more participation by people of all colours and different social backgrounds.

Before moving to Gloucester, Bishop Treweek worked in London's poorest communities and says she wants to use her voice not only for the needy but for justice for all.

She was one of 84 Anglican bishops who signed a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron calling for sanctuary for an extra 30,000 Syrian refugees.

The Right Reverend Rachel Treweek

Image copyright PA
Image caption Bishop Rachel Treweek with her husband Guy
  • Worked as a speech and language therapist for more than six years before being ordained
  • Previously served as curate at St George and All Saints in Tufnell Park, north London, and became vicar of St James the Less, in Bethnal Green, east London, in 1999
  • Appointed archdeacon of Northolt in west London in 2006 and had been archdeacon of Hackney in east London since 2011
  • She has been a member of the general synod since 2010
  • She is married to Guy Treweek, who is a priest in the Diocese of London

Bishop Treweek began her role as Bishop of Gloucester last month after the retirement of the Right Reverend Michael Perham.

At a service in Gloucester Cathedral she was presented with her pastoral staff and placed in her bishop's chair. She also preached her first sermon as a bishop.

Two women bishops have already been appointed, but Bishop Treweek is the first woman to run a diocese.

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