Her Majesty the Queen has appointed the Venerable Rachel Treweek, Archdeacon of Hackney in the Diocese of London, as the next Bishop of Gloucester. The announcement was made by the Prime Minister’s office this morning.
Rachel Treweek will be the first female Diocesan Bishop in the Church of England following legislation passed last year enabling women as Bishops.
Speaking at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester following the announcement Rachel Treweek said: "It is an immense joy and privilege to be appointed as the Bishop of Gloucester. I am surprised and, I have to admit, even a little daunted by the prospect, 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.
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 announcement has been welcomed in the diocese and beyond.
The Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, the Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, said: "What fantastic news. Wow, how wonderful so soon after Bishop Libby. I'm thrilled for you dear Rachel and I'm thrilled for the Diocese of Gloucester, for the Church of England, for the Church of God and for all of us. Yippee."
The Right Reverend Libby Lane, Bishop of Stockport said: "I congratulate Rachel on her nomination as Bishop of Gloucester. She is an exceptional priest whose leadership is well proven. She is both genuinely caring and deeply insightful. Her experience as an Archdeacon, in General Synod, and the national church will equip her well for her future ministry. It has been an honour to serve alongside Rachel as Regional Representatives in the House of
Bishops, and I rejoice that she takes her place there as of right. Rachel and Guy are in my prayers as they prepare for this exciting change in their lives."
The Right Reverend Martyn Snow, Bishop of Tewkesbury, also welcomed the announcement: "I am looking forward to working alongside Rachel as she takes up her ministry here in the Diocese of Gloucester. We have a strong family of churches, all wanting to support one another as we journey together in faith. I am sure Rachel and her husband Guy will receive a very warm welcome as they settle into the diocese. I am certain that Rachel will offer great encouragement to people to share their own faith and the love of Jesus Christ and I pray that under her guidance, the Diocese of Gloucester will grow and thrive."
The bishop designate comes to the diocese having served previously in a number of other ministries. She was a curate at St George and All Saints, Tufnell Park before becoming Vicar of St. James the Less, Bethnal Green in 1999. She was appointed as Archdeacon of Northolt in 2006 and is the current Archdeacon of Hackney, a role she has had since 2011.
Before ordination, Archdeacon Rachel trained as a Speech and Language Therapist, a role she practised for more than six years. It was whilst working as a Speech and Language Therapist that she became interested in family dynamics. She began her training in 'Couples and Family Therapy' and completed her certificate at the Institute of Family Therapy once she was ordained.
Her previous training and specialist work continues to affect her perspective on the functioning of a parish and the wider church in society. This has led to an ever-increasing interest in conflict transformation. Since 2011 Archdeacon Rachel has been a Member of Bridge Builders’ Council of Reference.
Rachel Treweek began her day at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester as part of a tour of the Diocese of Gloucester. Later in the morning she will visit All Saints’ Academy in Cheltenham, to meet students and teachers. In the afternoon she will meet patients, staff and volunteers at Great Oaks Dean Forest Hospice in Coleford. Her final meeting will be with prisoners and staff of Eastwood Park Women’s Prison. She will end the day in prayer at Gloucester Cathedral with people of the diocese.
The Venerable Rachel Treweek will be formally enthroned at Gloucester Cathedral later this year.