English female priest Helen-Ann Hartley elected as New Zealand bishop

By ACNS staff
Posted Sep 5, 2013

Photo: Stephen Barker/Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia

[Anglican Communion News Service] An English priest, the Rev. Helen-Ann Hartley, has been elected as the new bishop of Waikato diocese in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia.

Hartley, 40, has been living and working in the country since 2011 as the dean of Tikanga Pakeha students at St. John’s College in Auckland. She will be the 7th bishop of Waikato and the first woman to hold the office.

In a statement released Sept. 5, Bishop-elect Hartley said she was looking forward to traveling around the diocese and learning more about its people and places.

A fourth generation priest, she will be the first female priest ordained in the Church of England to become a bishop. “I hope my election as a bishop will be a sign of encouragement for supporters of the ordination of women to the episcopate,” she said.

“All, irrespective of gender, are able to witness to the gospel, both women and men are entrusted with that sacred task.”

Hartley was ordained in 2005 and began her ministry working in 12 rural parishes near Oxford. She also brings years of experience in theological education to her new role. Before moving to New Zealand, she was director of biblical studies and lecturer in the New Testament at Ripon College Cuddeston in the U.K.

“My first task is to listen to what has been achieved in the diocese so far and its potential,” she said. “Being a disciple of Christ is about learning alongside others. Education has, at its heart, the idea of ‘drawing out,’ of enabling everyone to fulfill their potential and so will be a strong foundation for my work.”

Hartley, will lead the diocese with Philip Richardson, the bishop of Taranaki and also the archbishop of the New Zealand dioceses. He described the election as “an exciting moment for the diocese.”

New Zealand’s other female bishop, the Rt Rev. Victoria Matthews, said of the announcement: “The election of Helen-Ann adds a new strength to this conversation in the House of Bishops. Helen-Ann also brings a perspective that is communionwide, working with students from across the world in her teaching and administrative roles. I warmly anticipate and welcome her presence as an episcopal colleague in the House of Bishops.”

Hartley once told the New Yorker magazine that seeing women bishops from other parts of the Anglican Communion wearing miters at a conference “blew her away” and made her “see bishops in a  new way.” With her election, the number of serving female bishops or bishops-elect across the Anglican Communion is 25.


Comments (9)

  1. Hector G. Quailey F. says:

    Congratulation new bishop. Anglicans in Dominican Republic wish the best in tour new position. The kingdom of god needs faithful clergies.

  2. susanna metz says:

    This is fabulous news! Her background in education as well as rural church ministry will be the foundation of an excellent ministry to her people. I do hope, as she says, that this will encourage the ordination of women to the episcopate in Britain.

  3. The Rev. Harriet B. Linville says:

    Bishop- elect Helen-Ann Hartley will incorporate many fine stories of ministry as she moves about the diocese, listening to people, into her new ministry. Blessings upon all there. Yet another example of the ministry of all of God’s people.

  4. Pedro Antonio Reyes Linares says:

    Congratulations to all brothers and sisters in New Zealand and in the Anglican Church! Great news for all christians. I am Roman Catholic and happy to see these signs of the Spirit spreading in the world.

  5. Paula Thompson says:

    Congratulations Helen from everyone at Benedict Biscop CE Academy, where you attended as a primary school pupil. Your appointment is an amazing inspiration for everyone here and for women priests here in England. God Bless!

  6. Michael Hayes says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Hartley! It does one’s heart good to read this exciting news. I pray that God gives you strength to continue to carry out His work, wherever you go. This is a very good thing for the Universal Christian Church.
    It’s wonderful that such a nice person, who also happens to be super qualified, had risen to be a bishop.

  7. Sofia M Porle says:

    This was very good news! So many congratulations to you and to the Anglican Church! I was looking for you at fb but didn´t find you so I just googled you and found the news. Coming sunday we have a visit from Oxford in our church, that made me thinking of you and the times we have met. All blessings for you both in work and personal life.

  8. Terence Crolley says:

    Many congratulations to Helen-Ann, and best wishes to her husband Myles, as they embark on the next stage of their Ministry. The elevation to the House of Bishops by a female English Anglican, Priest, is warmly welcomed and hopefully stands as a template for future preferments in the UK.

  9. Atephen Anso says:

    The Church is in great need of disciples who are willing to stand alongside others, hear their stories, and in turn be willing share both their own story and their faith. My hope is that Bishop Helen-ann will lead us forward in reaching out to into our various communities, making connections that will help spread the Good News of Jesus. Congratulations to Helen-Ann on her appointment. May God bless her in her new ministry.

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