A whole new world

Gippsland’s incoming Anglican Bishop Kay Goldsworthy is preparing to take on “a whole new world” when she is installed this Saturday.

Bishop Goldsworthy was the first woman to be ordained an Anglican bishop in Australia and has served as Assistant Bishop of Perth since 2008, after 26 years in the city.

“Going from one side of the country to the other, Gippsland is a whole new world for me and a very beautiful world,” Bishop Goldsworthy said.

“I have had a strong sense of vocation, of call.

“I do think this is the place I need to be for reasons I have absolutely no idea about, hopefully over time they will become clear.

“My first goal is to get to know the area.”

Bishop Goldsworthy was ordained deacon in 1986 and was one of the first group of women to be ordained an Anglican priest in 1992.

Born in Melbourne, she served as deacon in charge of the parishes of Thomastown/Epping and Deer Park/St Albans, before training for ministry at Trinity College in Parkville.

“The church has worked through how it views women as leaders and how it has come to fresh insights and new understanding about the faith and gift and grace women bring.

“It’s been an incredibly privileged role. When (other women in the church) see this role they know they are absolutely, totally included by the church.”

When asked whether the role of Australia’s first woman bishop brought with it significant pressure, she said at times she had felt “constrained”, because she did not want to be a bad role model.

“You have to get beyond that and say if what we believe is God calls individuals, then God’s called me,” she said.

She succeeds Bishop John McIntyre, who died suddenly in June last year.

He was remembered as a progressive church leader and advocate for gay, Aboriginal and refugee rights.

Bishop Goldsworthy said there were many theological points she and the late Bishop McIntyre held in common.

“I am on a more inclusive spectrum in terms of how I view the church and some of the attitudes we have and the way we need to understand ourselves and our life in relation to the world,” Bishop Goldsworthy said.

“John was really a strong environmentalist and that’s an incredibly important role for Christians to be aware of.

“I’m also aware that this part of the world is where a lot of people make their living (in the mining and oil and gas sectors), that’s a very real part of how many people make their daily bread.”

Bishop Goldsworthy said the church was in the middle of a “long conversation” about issues of human sexuality.

“My personal stance is I am on a more inclusive end in that conversation,” she said.

“Sometimes as a Bishop you’ve got to listen to everybody and every perspective and work alongside the people who are part of your community.”

Bishop Goldsworthy will be installed as Bishop of Gippsland at St Paul’s Cathedral, Sale, on Saturday.

“I’m just really thankful for this new possibility and I really do pray God will use me well and I’ll be a reasonably wise leader and maintain my sense of humour,” she said.