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Two women bishops consecrated at Canterbury Cathedral

Published 22/07/2015

The ceremony will confer Ven Rachel Treweek with the title of Right Reverend
The ceremony will confer Ven Rachel Treweek with the title of Right Reverend

The consecration will take place at Canterbury Cathedral today of two women bishops, including the Church of England's most senior female bishop.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, will lead the ordination and consecration of the Ven Rachel Treweek who becomes Bishop of Gloucester.

The Rev Canon Dame Sarah Mullally, 53, a former government chief nursing officer, will be consecrated as the Bishop of Crediton in the Diocese of Exeter in Devon.

In a fitting move, the 22-strong Canterbury Cathedral Girls' Choir - which only formed at the Kent cathedral last year - will lead the singing at the ceremony.

Former speech and language therapist Ms Treweek, who was Archdeacon of Hackney, officially becomes the Church's first female diocesan bishop.

It is understood the 52-year-old, who describes herself in her Twitter profile as "more vulnerable than venerable", will become the first woman bishop to enter the House of Lords.

Her appointment, which comes after the Right Rev Michael Perham retired in November, means she is the first woman to run a diocese and is one rank below archbishop.

She said she was "excited and full of anticipation and joy for what lies ahead" as she begins her ministry as Bishop of Gloucester.

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

"My calling to the role of bishop has been shaped by human encounter. I believe profoundly that relationship is at the heart of who God is.

"I have been with people through the joys and pains of their lives and it is these experiences that I will reflect upon as I take up this new role."

The ceremony of ordination and consecration will confer on her the title of Right Reverend. She was announced as the next Bishop of Gloucester in March.

Her appointment was welcomed throughout the Church, with the Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, the Most Rev Desmond Tutu, describing it as "fantastic news".

She married Guy, priest-in-charge of two parishes in the City of London, in 2006, the same year she was appointed Archdeacon of Northolt. In 2011, she became Archdeacon of Hackney

Ms Treweek and Dame Sarah are the third and fourth female bishops to be appointed in the Church of England respectively.

Dame Sarah, a married mother-of-two, spoke last month of how she will miss her old job as Salisbury Cathedral's canon treasurer.

She said: "It has been a privilege and great joy to have been part of the cathedral community and I will miss some wonderful colleagues and friends.

"My time here has equipped me well for my ministry that is ahead in Devon and I will take much with me into my new role."

Dame Sarah was appointed as the government's chief nursing officer for England in 1999 - becoming the youngest person to hold that role.

She was ordained in 2001 and quit nursing in 2004 to take up full-time ministry, becoming a rector in Surrey in 2006.

She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2005 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to nursing and midwifery.

As Bishop of Crediton, Dame Sarah will primarily look after east and north Devon, though in common with the Bishop of Plymouth, she will minister across the whole diocese.

She is married to Eamonn, who works as a business architect, and they have two children, aged 23 and 19.

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