Senior female Hackney church figures refute rumours they are being tipped for top church role

Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin

Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin - Credit: Archant

Two senior religious figures from Hackney could be in the running to become the first women bishops of the Church of England.

Archdeacon of Hackney Rachel Treweek

Archdeacon of Hackney Rachel Treweek - Credit: Archdeacon of Hackney Rachel Tre

The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the Speaker’s chaplain in the House of Commons and minister of two Hackney churches, and the Ven Rachel Treweek, Archdeacon of Hackney, are both rumoured to be tipped for the role.

The church’s governing body, the General Synod, is expected to vote about whether to promote women to bishops at its meeting next month when members will be asked to agree plans to speed up the process of gaining approval from dioceses.

If that succeeds, it could be put to a final vote when the Synod meets in July. It would then need to be approved by parliament and the Queen before being enacted by the Synod in November.

The move would end 20 years of struggle and division in the church over whether women can become bishops.

Both women are said to be among the favourites for the role, along with the Dean of York, the Very Rev Vivienne Faull, and Dean of Salisbury, the Very Rev June Osborne.

The Rev Hudson-Wilkin, of All Saints Haggerston in Livermere Road and Holy Trinity Church, Beechwood Road, Dalston, said: “I think my initial comments would be, I believe in miracles. So if it did happen, it would be a miracle, and I would totally welcome it.

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“I am not sitting around waiting to become a bishop.

“It’s for the church to decide who they believe God is calling into that particular post.

“Just as long as people are not disappointed if it does not happen, I won’t be disappointed. I love what I do at the moment.”

The minister, who splits her time between Westminster and Hackney, will be presiding over the funeral of Antonio Rodney Cole, who was fatally stabbed to death in Stoke Newington in December, tomorrow (Friday).

Meanwhile, the Ven Treweek said: “There is still a lot of water to flow under the bridge and I think it is very important that we walk each step in the present moment – we have been very close to this point before.

“Do I have a desire to be a bishop? No. Not that anyone ever believes me when I say that. But if you ask those who know me well, they will tell you that I never wanted to be an archdeacon, let alone a bishop.

“What people find very hard to understand is that the Church of England does not have a hierarchical career ladder which everyone is endeavouring to climb – it is about men and women offering themselves to share the love of Christ and serve God in a way which best uses their gifts and who they are.”