Australia's Anglican Church has its third female bishop, Genieve Blackwell, but her March 31 consecration was boycotted by her archbishop, Sydney's Peter Jensen, a strong opponent of women clergy.
Blackwell, the first Anglican woman bishop in the state of New South Wales, was appointed regional bishop of Wagga Wagga, located between Sydney and Melbourne, by Bishop Stuart Robinson of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn. Jensen is archbishop of the region, which also includes Sydney, one of the most conservative dioceses in the Anglican Communion.
Of her new role, Blackwood told ENInews, "It is about promoting Christ's church in the world, and encouraging parishes in what they are doing now and in the future." She told the Sydney Morning Herald that she was "a bit nervous but I look on this as meeting a great challenge that faces the rural and regional church ... It is a great thing that the gifts of women are being recognized and confirmed as being able to be used in Christ's service."
A daughter of a Methodist minister, raised in the Uniting Church, Blackwell joined the Anglican Church while studying at university. She undertook further study at Moore Theological Anglican College from 1989 to 1992 under Jensen, and was ordained as a deacon in Sydney in 1993. (Deacons may not celebrate the Eucharist and have been ordained in Sydney since 1989.)