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UK: Don't see God as a man says first woman bishop to sit in the House of Lords

UK: Don't see God as a man says first woman bishop to sit in the House of Lords
She has already refused the title 'right reverend father'
Bishop of Gloucester Rachel Treweek will join House of Lords tomorrow
She will be first female Bishop to be inaugurated as one of Lords Spiritual
In interview 52-year-old said: 'God is not to be seen as male. God is god'

October 25, 2015

Britain's most senior female bishop, who is to become the first to sit in the House of Lords, has said God should not be referred to as specifically male.

Bishop of Gloucester Rachel Treweek, 52, who is to be inaugurated in Parliament tomorrow and recently refused the title of 'right reverend father', said: 'God is not to be seen as male. God is god.'

The bishop said God should not be gendered and said while she knowns many will disagree, she believes the Church of England should use both male and female pronouns when referring to God

Treweek, who is one of just six female bishops in the Church of England, said she chooses not say 'he' or 'she', but instead uses 'God', although she admitted she does occasionally forget.

She is to become the first female bishop to sit in the House of Lords on Monday when she becomes one of the 26 Lords Spiritual.

She told the Guardian the significance of the role is only just beginning to sink in.

The Lords Spiritual, which are also known as Spiritual Peers, are the 26 bishops of the established Church of England who serve in the House of Lords along with the Lords Temporal.

She will be the most senior female bishop to be inaugurated, and she is expected to be followed into the House of Lords by Christine Hardman when she becomes Britain's seventh female bishop in November.

The bishop told the newspaper: 'In the creation narratives, we're told that God created human beings in God's likeness, and then it goes on to talk about male and female. If I am made in the image of God, then God is not to be seen as male. God is God.'

She acknowledged that some believe God should be referred to solely as a woman, and said may be seen as 'threatening' by some Anglicans, but added: 'I am not in the business of wanting to offend anyone, but I do want to gently challenge people.'

She will be introduced by the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the bishop of London, Richard Chartres, after her 'writ of summons' is read aloud.

The Guardian reports she sent back the first version of the writ because it referred to her as a 'right reverend father in God' - the amended version describes her simply as 'bishop'.

Before being ordained Treweek worked in the NHS as a paediatric speech and language therapist.

She became the third woman to be made a bishop following the Reverend Canon Alison White, the new Bishop of Hull, and the Reverend Libby Lane, the Bishop of Stockport.

Treweek was raised in Hertfordshire, studied linguistics at Reading University and worked as a speech and language therapist before entering the Church.

The bishop then attended Oxford University's evangelical theological college, Wycliffe Hall, and was ordained in 1994.

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.

Her formal enthronement as bishop of the diocese, home to 600,000 people and 205 parishes, took place at Gloucester Cathedral in September.

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