Female Archbishop in Australian Anglican Church

Kay Goldsworthy makes history in Perth by becoming the world’s first female Anglican Archbishop


World history has been made in Australia, with the installation of the first female Anglican Archbishop.

The Archbishop of Perth, Kay Goldsworthy, says she wants to help restore trust in the institution, which she admits has been harmed by abuse scandals.

Archbishop Goldsworthy has replaced Roger Herft, who retired after admitting he had “let down” abuse survivors in the Diocese of Newcastle, where he had previously served.

In her sermon, Archbishop Goldsworthy reflected on the impact of events examined by the Royal Commission.

“Right now the church’s trust bank is pretty depleted. All churches,” she said.

“The hurt and grief which has been brought to light has wrapped around us and we find ourselves in totally uncharted waters.”

The new Archbishop also committed to recognising the importance of Indigenous culture in Western Australia.

“I suspect that no matter how long I am there I will always be aware of both views, both worlds, both realities, one imposed on the other.”

“Every story of those first Anglicans and other Christians here is one of balancing precariously.

“Learning new ways to live and tell the story of Jesus, of building churches, schools, offices, community, relationships — and all this set against a background of another world, another culture of more than 40,000 years, and with mixed outcomes.”

Archbishop Goldsworthy was one of the first Anglican women to be ordained in Australia.

Then in 2008, in St George’s Cathedral, she became a Bishop.

Speaking outside St George’s Cathedral after the ceremony, Archbishop Kay remained modest about her achievements.

“There are other women around the world who have done truly amazing things and they simply didn’t have the title Archbishop,” she said.

“They were bishops or church leaders in various places who have done and continue to do truly amazing things.”

Archbishop Kay said her priority would be getting to know the people of Perth as well as regional WA.

          The Installation of the first female Archbishop in the Australian Anglican Church is a heartening sign that the ultra-conservative Sydney Diocese does not represent the outlook and ethos of most Anglicans in Australia.
          Archbishop Kay Goldsworthy – whose very name is an indication of the value she represents to many Anglicans in Australia – certainly in the Diocese of Perth which she now heads – is well-known for her commitment to the charism of social justice in the Church, and her leadership role will help to foster a more inclusive agenda in the realm of gender and sexuality that has assumed such significance in Anglican Churches around the world.
          Notable among the attending bishops was our very own Bishop Victoria Matthews of the Diocese of Christchurch, New Zealand.
         Notable also – in the video of the new archbishop’s entrance into the cathedral in Perth, was her use of the pronoun ‘US’ when acknowledging God’s Blessing in absolution around the Baptismal Font  Far from the traditional understanding of a clergy person ‘bestowing ‘ a Blessing only upon others at the Absolution, Archbishop Kay has indicated the reality of her own personal need of forgiveness from God – as a fellow sinner. I use this acknowledgement for myself of my own need of absolution. Perhaps more of us should do so. We are ALL sinners in need of God’s forgiveness, clergy and bishops no less than laity.
          Thanks be to God!
Multos ad Annos!
          Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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