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Melbourne bishop named on King’s Birthday Honours List

Bishop Alison Taylor has been honoured with a Member of the Order of Australia. Picture: supplied

Jenan Taylor

13 June 2023

A bishop in the Diocese of Melbourne is among the Anglicans recognised on the 2023 King’s Birthday Honours List.

Bishop Alison Taylor was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the Anglican Church and to conservation.

A chair of the Clergy Bill working group, and director of the Anglican Representative (National Redress Scheme) Ltd, Bishop Taylor has been vicar at St John’s and St Dunstan’s churches in Camberwell, and was assistant bishop in the Diocese of Brisbane from 2013 to 2018.

Bishop Taylor said her role as chair at Anglican Overseas Aid from 2005 to 2013, and her efforts assisting the Archbishop of Canterbury to extend a network of development agencies in parts of the Anglican Communion, were among the highlights of her working life so far.

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She said it had been a particularly humbling experience to partner with communities in the developing world who did not have the basic resources Australians took for granted.

Bishop Taylor’s experience as board member of the first Renewable Energy Authority for Victoria in the early 1990s before she was ordained, exposed her to the idea of renewable energy and its possibilities as the way of the future.

But Bishop Taylor said her work as an urban planning senior lecturer in China, also prior to priesthood, opened her eyes to the struggles many Christians endured in parts of the world where secularisation was the focus.

She said many churches in China had been turned into factories and machinery placed in them to ensure that groups couldn’t meet.

The Christians who did manage to gather placed great value on their faith, Bishop Taylor said.

“There weren’t enough Bibles, so people would share them. It was the most precious thing they possessed.”

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Bishop Taylor credited the first woman to be ordained a diocesan bishop in the Anglican Church, Penny Jamieson from New Zealand, and Trinity College Reverend Canon Professor Dorothy Lee, as being among those who inspired her.

Having worked at the Brisbane diocese during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Ms Bishop said she was now just a few months away from finishing a PhD about that inquiry.

“It was a big challenge for many people because it was incomprehensible on so many levels, and it still is a challenge. People have left the church either because they were abused themselves or because they hadn’t experienced it, but were appalled that it happened, and I was interested to write about that,” Bishop Taylor said.

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