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Perth Anglicans elect Gippsland's Bishop Kay Goldsworthy to be Australia's first female Archbishop

Kay Goldsworthy goes West again to make Australian church history

Archbishop-elect Kay Goldsworthy: her election as leader of WA Anglicans is the latest of many 'firsts' for the Bishop of Gippsland.

By Muriel Porter and Mark Brolly

August 29 2017 

Bishop Kay Goldsworthy AO, Australia’s first woman bishop, is to be the new Archbishop of Perth.

Currently the Bishop of Gippsland, she will lay up her staff in that diocese on 16 December.

Bishop Goldsworthy will be installed as eighth Archbishop of Perth in St George’s Cathedral on Saturday 10 February 2018.

She was consecrated in 2008 in Perth to be an assistant bishop of Perth.

In 2015, following the sudden death of Bishop John McIntyre, she was elected Bishop of Gippsland – the second women, after Grafton’s Bishop Sarah Macneil the previous year, to lead an Australian diocese and the first to do so in Victoria.

Originally from Melbourne, she was among the first women deacons ordained in Australia in St Paul’s Cathedral in February 1986. She was among the country’s first women priests, ordained in Perth in March 1992, where she had become a school chaplain.

She was made an Officer in the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday awards this year for “distinguished service to the Anglican Church of Australia, as a pioneer and role model for women, to church administration, and to pastoral care and equality”.

Perth’s Diocesan Administrator, Bishop Kate Wilmot, wrote to the Anglican Primate of Australia, Melbourne’s Archbishop Philip Freier, on 29 August to inform him of “the highly anticipated announcement of the election of the eighth Archbishop of Perth”.

“After an extensive eight-month selection process involving a committee of 10 lay people and 10 priests, which was open to nominations from around the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Archbishop Election Committee elected a candidate who has served with distinction for almost a decade as a Bishop in the Australian Church,” Bishop Wilmot wrote.

She wrote that Archbishop-elect Goldsworthy was looking forward to working with the people of the Diocese of Perth and the wider Western Australian community.

“The Archbishop-elect has fulfilled her ministry for more than three decades in three Australian Dioceses and brings a breadth and depth of wisdom and an ability to collaborate with diverse members of the Church community.

“Bishop Kay has a wealth of diocesan, national and international experience, including being a long-standing member of General Synod and a member of international Anglican Consultative Council and is also the first woman elected to the role of Archbishop in Australia.

“Bishop Kay is well known in Perth and has displayed excellent leadership and hospitality across the Perth community. The Diocese is very much looking forward to welcoming Bishop Kay and her husband Jeri James.”

Bishop Wilmot wrote that Archbishop-elect Goldsworthy was “widely welcomed as a grounded leader and healer, able to work constructively and creatively with everyone in the Anglican community and beyond”.

“We look forward to extending the hand of friendship and a warm welcome to the Archbishop-elect.”

Archbishop-elect Goldsworthy succeeds Archbishop Roger Herft, who announced last December that he would retire early, on 7 July this year, and take accrued leave until then. Archbishop Herft had stood aside as Archbishop of Perth in October 2016 so that he could focus fully on the public hearing into the Diocese of Newcastle – where he had been bishop from 1993-2005 – by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.