Australia’s first female priest has died. The Rt. Rev. Barbara Darling, the former Bishop of the Eastern Region of Melbourne died on 15 Feb 2015.
Bishop Darling, who retired earlier this year from the episcopate suffered a stroke on 7 Feb 2015 and died in hospital. She was 67.
A statement published on the diocesan website said:
“Her sudden and untimely death has shocked and saddened all who knew her and enjoyed her loving pastoral support, friendship and encouragement, within the diocese of Melbourne, with her fellow bishops, amongst the staff of the diocese and throughout Australian Anglicans.”
Bishop Darling was ordained a deacon in 1986 and was the first female priest ordained by the Australian Church in 1992 when the prohibition against women priests was lifted.
In 2008 Bishop Darling became the second women priest in the Australian Church and the first within the Diocese of Melbourne.
St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne published a note on Facebook marking the bishop’s death. “We give thanks for the life of our beloved Senior Canon, Bishop Barbara Darling, who died as the people of St Paul’s gathered for our Choral Eucharist, at which Dean Andreas reflected on God’s transforming power in Bishop Barbara’s life and illness. We anticipate her funeral to take place at St Paul’s Cathedral late next Sunday afternoon, 22 February, and will make further details as soon as they are available. May she rest in peace, and rise in glory.”