Britain on course for first woman bishop

Dr Alison PedenBy Ruth Gledhill, Timesonline

Oxford graduate Dr Alison Peden has been chosen as one of three candidates for the vacant episcopal see of Glasgow and Galloway in Scotland. If she is elected on 16 January, she will become the UK’s first woman bishop. It would in many ways be fitting for Scotland to be the first UK province to have a woman bishop. The US had the first one in the world, Barbara Harris, who incidentally was nominated back in the 1970s by Mary Glasspool, now lesbian bishop-elect in Los Angeles. Scotland and the US church go back generations. After the American Revolution, the Bishop of London, who had previously ruled over the American church as if it was a far-away London parish of little importance, refused to give newly-independent US Episcopalians a bishop of their own. So they went to Scotland, which duly obliged. The surprising thing about Scotland is that it has taken this long to put a woman on a shortlist after their General Synod voted in favour back in 2003.

You can read some of her sermons here.

In Lent 2007, somewhat prophetically, she preached: ‘The doomsday of the moment is global warming. I can remember at my secondary school hearing the first discussions about ‘ecology’ (as it was called then). It’s taken a while – a fair amount of ‘putting it off’ – to put pollution and conservation at the top of the agenda. But most people accept that action cannot be delayed, and climate change shows that time is running out. We seem to be prepared to act, to save our own skins, our houses, our landscape. The threat is severe enough.

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