Anglicans in Parliament back next generation of women leaders

Women who represent the Church of England in Parliament have spoken out about what it means to be a female leader as part of an initiative to inspire the next generation to follow in their footsteps.

In the 100th anniversary year of women's votes, the three sitting women bishops in the House of Lords, together with the Chaplain to the Speaker and the Second Church Estates Commissioner, paid tribute to women from history who helped them on their vocational path, adding their own messages of encouragement.

Women bishops are among those encouraging participation in Parliament Week.Pixabay

The five trailblazing leaders, each the first woman to hold her current role, were speaking to promote specially-commissioned resources for Church of England Schools and youth groups to engage with UK Parliament Week 2018.

Using the free resources, children and young people will have the chance to play the part of MPs by making a law and running a mock election, while learning about the importance of the 1918 Representation of People Act which paved the way for women to vote. They can also participate in worship, saying the prayers used in the Houses of Commons and Lords every day at the start of business.

The Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, the first woman bishop to enter the Lords, said that it was 'never my intention to be bishop, let alone sit in the House of Lords'.

She continued: 'I am acutely aware that I have only been able to take these steps because of the courage, prayer, voices and action of so many people over the years.

'With the calling to be a bishop and a Lord Spiritual has come the responsibility and opportunity to speak out on a variety of issues and topics, in an endeavour to enable other people to flourish and fulfil their potential and become the people God has created them to be.'

The Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally, said her Christian calling was 'not just to pray, but to act in the world'.

She added: 'I am very aware that the seat I occupy in St Paul's Cathedral is the one that suffragettes tried to blow up as part of their campaign for women's rights.

'The fact I sit in this seat 100 years after the vote was won for some women is an honour and a privilege I will try to use wisely.'

Churches and schools can apply for Parliament Week resources by filling in the application form.

Packs for schools, churches and other Christian groups include a booklet with a wide range of activities for use at events, together with prayers and reflections from Christian parliamentary figures, a ballot box for mock elections, bunting, posters and pin badges.