Rachel Treweek, Alison White appointed Church of England bishops; Treweek first woman to lead a diocese

March 26, 2015

The Church of England appointed Rachel Treweek, 52, as the next bishop of Gloucester in the southwest region of England.

Treweek will be the first woman to run a diocese. She will be one rank below archbishop and will become the first woman bishop to sit in the House of Lords, the British Par­liament’s Upper House.

Twenty-six “Lords Spiritual”—all Ang­lican and currently all male—sit in the House of Lords.

In a statement, Treweek said the appointment was “an immense joy and privilege.” She said she wanted to use her new position to speak up for those who are marginalized and to be “a compassionate voice that speaks into lives and places which are hurting.”

Treweek will be enthroned at Gloucester Cathedral later this year.

The announcement March 26 of Treweek’s appointment came one day after Alison White, 58, was appointed to become the next suffragan bishop of Hull. Both follow closely on the heels of Libby Lane, who was consecrated in January as a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Chester. A suffragan bishop is subordinate to a metropolitan or diocesan bishop.

White is married to the assistant bishop of Newcastle, Frank White. The Whites met in 1980. They have been married for 30 years.

In a message posted online, she wrote: “You may have noticed that I am married to a bishop. This may seem excessive! You would think that one in a family is more than enough. Believe me, this has crossed our minds.”

Hull falls under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of York, which includes the city of York, about 175 miles north of London. White will be consecrated bishop on July 3 at York Minster.

The church’s General Synod—its governing body—approved plans late last year to ordain women bishops. —Religion News Service

This article was edited on April 15, 2015.