Bishop Rachel awarded honorary degree

Published: Tuesday July 12, 2016

Bishop Rachel awarded honorary degree

The first female senior Bishop in the Church of England has been given an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Reading.

The Rt Revd Rachel Treweek was presented for her honorary degree on Friday 8 July, as part the University of Reading’s official graduation ceremonies.

On being awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters, Bishop Rachel said:

“I was incredibly surprised, but very excited to discover that I would be receiving an honorary degree in pioneering leadership from Reading University.

“This award is very special to me because it comes from the university that I attended and was awarded my BA in Linguistics and Language pathology. This then led me into my career as a Speech and Language Therapist, something I had wanted to do my whole life.

“I would never have dreamed at that time, I would one day return to the university as a bishop to receive an award!”

Presenting her for her honorary degree, Revd Mark Laynesmith, Anglican Chaplain at the University, said: “Whatever images of stuffy irrelevance the picture of bishops and members of the House of Lords might conjure up – Rachel dissolves them.

“Her message, she says, is a passionate one: each of us is loved for who we are, and what we can be.”

After graduation, Bishop Rachel worked as a Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist within the NHS before becoming the Clinical Manager for Paediatric Speech and Language Therapists across three North London health authorities.

Bishop Rachel trained for ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and was ordained in 1994 in the first year that female priests were ordained in England. In 1999, she became vicar of St James the Less, Bethnal Green before being appointed Archdeacon of Northolt in 2006 and Archdeacon of Hackney in 2011.

In March 2015, Bishop Rachel was announced as the 41st Bishop of Gloucester, the first female senior bishop in the Church of England. She was then introduced to parliament in October 2015, becoming the first woman to join the Lords Spiritual bench.

Bishop Rachel is married to Guy, who was a vicar in the City of London until their move to Gloucester. Together they enjoy walking and canoeing.

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