Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Scottish priest could be UK's first female bishop

The Reverend Cannon Dr Alison Peden
Dr Peden is among three candidates being considered for the bishop's post

A Scottish Anglican priest could become Britain's first female bishop, it has emerged.

The Reverend Canon Dr Alison Peden, 57, has been shortlisted for the role of Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

She is among three candidates being considered for the position.

Women have been allowed to become bishops in the Scottish Episcopal Church since 2003 but Dr Peden is the first to be shortlisted.

Dr Peden, who is married with three children, is rector of Holy Trinity Church in Stirling, chaplain of Forth Valley College, Stirling, and canon of St Ninian's Cathedral in Perth.

The other candidates are the Very Reverend Dr Gregor Duncan, 59, rector of St Ninian's Church, Pollokshields, Glasgow, and dean of the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway; and the Venerable Dr John Applegate, 53, who is an academic.

They were selected by a committee of clergy and lay church members who represent the diocese and the wider church.

I am confident that the electoral synod will elect the right person to lead the diocese in its future mission and ministry
The Reverend David Chillingworth
Scottish Episcopal Church

The new bishop will be elected on 16 January, after each of the candidates has met members of an electoral synod made up of clergy and lay church members from the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway on 9 January.

The Most Reverend David Chillingworth, primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, said: "Each of the candidates bring a wide range of experience, and I am confident that the electoral synod will elect the right person to lead the diocese in its future mission and ministry."

The Church of England is debating whether to permit women bishops. The Church in Wales voted against it in April 2008.

The Church of Ireland allows the ordination of female bishops but no women have been appointed.



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