RACHEL Treweek will become the first woman in the Church of England to be consecrated as a diocesan bishop when she officially takes the helm in Gloucestershire on Wednesday.

She will be officially given the title of Bishop of Gloucester in a ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Hundreds of well-wishers are expected to make the journey from Gloucestershire to witness the historic occasion.

Rachel said she was excited for what lies ahead: “I am excited and full of anticipation and joy for what lies ahead as I begin my ministry as Bishop of Gloucester.

"I am looking forward to encouraging Christians to speak out with confidence about their faith and the good news that the Gospel brings.

“My calling to the role of bishop has been shaped by human encounter. I believe profoundly that relationship is at the heart of who God is. I have been with people through the joys and pains of their lives and it is these experiences that I will reflect upon as I take up this new role.”

During the service she will be presented with her episcopal ring and pectoral cross, which were both designed especially for Rachel and represent her passion for resolving conflicts, empowering others and her link with South Africa.

Before ordination, Rachel trained as a speech and language therapist, a role she practised for more than six years.

Her previous training and specialist work continues to affect her perspective on the functioning of a parish and the wider church in society.