Church of England to Consecrate Its Second Female Bishop in July

Church of England
Woman clergy take photographs of the first female bishop in the Church of England Libby Lane following her consecration service at York Minster in York, northern England, January 26, 2015. |

The Church of England has announced that the Rev. Canon Alison White will be consecrated as its second female bishop since the Church voted last year to allow women to become bishops.

The announcement was made just hours before the BBC reported that Rachel Treweek, the archdeacon of Hackney in the diocese of London, will become the new Bishop of Gloucester.

"Two women bishops have already been appointed, but Archdeacon Treweek, 52, is the first woman to run a diocese and will be one rank below archbishop," the BBC reported Thursday. " It is understood she will also become the first female bishop to enter the House of Lords."

White, a 58-year-old who was ordained a priest in 1994, will be made the bishop of Hull in a ceremony scheduled for July 3.

The Rt. Rev. Martin Wharton, the recently retired bishop of Newcastle, the diocese where Rev. White presently serves as priest-in-charge, said in a statement that he's "thrilled" by the news.

"I am thrilled that Alison's priestly and personal gifts have been recognized by the wider church and believe she will be an outstanding bishop who will quickly endear herself to the people of Hull and the East Riding," stated Wharton.

"As the second woman to be appointed bishop in the Church of England, we rejoice with her and pray for her."

Church of England
Members of the clergy enter York Minster before a service to consecrate Reverend Libby Lane as the first female bishop in the Church of England, in York, northern England, January 26, 2015. |

Last July, the Church of England voted overwhelmingly to allow for women to be consecrated as bishops, a move that got mostly positive feedback from the global Anglican Communion.

"The challenge for us will be for the Church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds," stated Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby.

"Very few institutions achieve this, but if we manage this we will be living out more fully the call of Jesus Christ to love one another. As delighted as I am for the outcome of this vote, I am also mindful of those within the Church for whom the result will be difficult and a cause of sorrow."

Last December, the Church announced that the Rev. Libby Lane would become the first female bishop, being consecrated as head of the Diocese of Chester.

A 48-year-old mother of two, Lane was consecrated in January as bishop, enduring the presence of one heckler during the ceremony who shouted "not in the Bible."

This is not the first time that White has been part of a wave of change within the Church of England, according to Episcopal News Service.

"She was ordained to the diaconate in 1986 and to the priesthood in 1994, being among the first women to be ordained as priests in the Church of England," reported ENS.

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