First woman to lead Anglican diocese
THE Anglican Church has announced Dr Sarah Macneil as the new bishop of the Grafton Diocese.
Reverend Dr Macneil is the first woman in Australia to lead a diocese of the Anglican Church.
A former dean of Adelaide and archdeacon in the Canberra-Goulburn diocese, Rev Dr Macneil was understood to have been unanimously elected by a 12-person, church-chosen Bishop Appointment Board.
Dr Macneil replaces Rev Keith Slater, who resigned under a cloud of controversy in May.
Following Rev Slater's resignation, the church issued a public apology to 200 victims of child and sexual abuse at the North Coast Children's Home.
Rev Slater is expected to be called to appear before the royal commission regarding claims of abuse at the home.
Dr Macneil will leave her current role as senior associate priest at Holy Covenant Anglican Church in Jamison, ACT, at the end of the year.
The 11th bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton, Dr Macneil will be consecrated and installed in her role next year.
Dr Macneil said being appointed the first female Anglican diocesan bishop was surprising, overwhelming and humbling.
"I am awed by the confidence placed in me by the appointment board and by their willingness to be trailblazers," she said.
"The diocesan appointment board is keen to have a bishop with a heart for mission in the 21st century, a respect for the diversity of Anglicanism and with administrative experience, all of which are part of my story."
The Anglican Diocese of Grafton announced Dr Macneil's appointment in a statement that was embargoed until 1am yesterday.
"Her election will cause considerable excitement in church circles, not only among Australian Anglicans but in mainline churches around the world," the statement said.
"It will be interpreted by many as an overt sign of an increasing acceptance of women in leadership roles within the church."
She is a lifetime Christian in the Anglican tradition and, before ordination, worked in Australia and abroad with the Commonwealth Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade.