Search for next bishop of London raises prospect of female appointment

Source: The Guardian

C of E decision over who to recommend for post will revive controversy in diocese divided over ordination of women

People walk towards St Paul's Cathedral during sunrise in central London
St Paul’s Cathedral is the seat of the bishop of London. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

The Church of England is considering candidates for its third most senior position, the bishop of London, amid speculation that a woman may be appointed.

Richard Chartres, who has held the post since 1996, is obliged to retire this year when he turns 70. He will step down at the end of February.

The C of E’s Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) will make a recommendation later this year to the prime minister, Theresa May. She in turn will advise the Queen, who formally nominates the new bishop. Recent custom has been that the prime minister rubber-stamps the first choice of the CNC.

In the past two years, after divisive debate within the C of E, 10 women have been consecrated as bishops. However, only two – Rachel Treweek of Gloucester and Christine Hardman of Newcastle – are senior (diocesan) bishops appointed to seats in the House of Lords.

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