Scottish priest could become first female bishop

A Scottish priest will today find out if she is to become Britain's first female bishop.

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

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

The other candidates are the Very Rev 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, an academic.

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

The new bishop will be elected today, 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.

The Most Rev 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."

Dr Applegate is course principal of the Southern North West Training Partnership in the Diocese of Manchester and a part-time lecturer in the University of Manchester.

Women have been allowed to become bishops in the Scottish Episcopal Church since 2003 but Dr Peden, who is married with three children, is the first to be shortlisted.

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.