First female Lord Spiritual looks forward to a woman Archbishop of Canterbury

Rachel Treweek has said the Archbishop of Canterbury would 'ideally' be a woman in the future.

Bishop Rachel Treweek, who is to take a seat in the House of Lords today, has said she would like a woman to be Archbishop of Canterbury.

Speaking ahead of becoming the first woman to join the Lords Spiritual, the Bishop of Gloucester said "ideally" a woman would lead the Church of England in the future, according to Western Daily Press.

Asked whether Lambeth Palace was ready for a female Archbishop, she said: "I think the important thing is that the next Archbishop of Canterbury is the right person.

"I ideally hope that one day there might be an Archbishop of Canterbury who is also a woman. But I think what's most important is that it's always about the right person and being the person we have been called to be by God."

She told the Press Association: "I don't see myself as a woman bishop, I see myself as a bishop who is a woman who is taking my place alongside other bishops who are men.

"I hope that what this is saying is that men and women are created equally. We work best when we are both able to use our voices alongside one another."

Although she said prescriptive gender roles and distinctions were often unhelpful, she added that she hopes to bring an ability to see the "big picture" and challenge government ministers as a woman.

"What I bring is myself. First and foremost, I come here fully being myself and, as it happens, I'm a woman. It's quite a hard question, I think, generalisations about what do men do, what do women do," the bishop explained.

"One thing I would say, I think women are good at doing connections, we are good at relating, I think we are good at doing big picture stuff.

"So I hope that one of the things I will do, at times I will be a bit challenging, to say 'how does that actually fit with this over here', how do we hold the big picture of human flourishing?"

Defending the role of the 26 Lords Spiritual (Lords who are bishops), she suggested that they offer a unique perspective within the Lords, while highlighting that many faiths are represented in the House.

"There are people throughout the House of Lords of all faiths, that's very important to state that. As bishops I do think we bring something unique. We are connected with people across the whole spectrum of life.

"Every blade of grass, every inch of concrete in this country falls within one of the parishes in the Church of England. Therefore we are connecting with people's lives and can bring our voice here."