First woman diocesan bishop to retire

Bishop Penelope Jamieson of the diocese of Dunedin in New Zealand, the first female diocesan bishop in the Anglican Communion, has announced that she will retire at the end of June.

The presiding bishop and primate of New Zealand, John Paterson, said she had exercised a “courageous and pioneering ministry.” Her election in 1989 as the first woman diocesan bishop followed the appointment of Barbara Harris as a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the United States diocese of Massachusetts.

In a message on her diocesan Web site, Bishop Jamieson said, “I have a strong resurrection faith that has enabled me to lead this diocese through a time when the economy and demographics of the South (of New Zealand) have been in decline.”

Bishop Jamieson’s husband Ian, who teaches at Otago University, is scheduled to retire at the same time. In a letter to Anglicans in southern New Zealand, the bishop said that “it is time now for us to return to (the national capital) Wellington to our young families and to be there for them.” They have three grown daughters.

The bishop has a background in linguistics and in teaching English as a second language. She is the author of Living at the Edge: Sacrament and Solidarity in Leadership.

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