Finding new ways of connecting people to meet the challenges of the 21st century will be the priority for new Melbourne Anglican Bishop Genieve Blackwell.
Bishop Blackwell will be commissioned as Melbourne’s second woman bishop at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday night. She follows the late Bishop Barbara Darling.
But Bishop Blackwell, who has moved down from Wagga in the Canberra-Goulburn diocese, is a trailblazer in her own right, as the first woman bishop in New South Wales. She was consecrated bishop in Goulburn in March 2012, at the time only Australia’s third woman bishop.
In Melbourne she will join Archbishop Philip Freier and Bishops Paul White and Philip Huggins, focusing on outreach work in the community.
“We live in a time of great change with people gathering differently. I want to help our church find new ways of connecting with people,” she said.
She said she was drawn to Melbourne by its diversity, depth and tradition. It would be an exciting place to explore new possibilities to be church in the 21st century.
Bishop Blackwell, 53, trained at Moore College in Sydney and served five years in that city as a deacon, before being ordained in the Bathurst diocese and being priest at Gulgong and Grenfell. She moved to Canberra in 2005, serving at Yass, then as priest at Wagga as well as regional bishop. She has strong experience of both country and city church life.
She is married to prison chaplain John Silversides, and has two children, daughter Baith and son Harry.