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Multimedia report: The consecration of Alison Menzies Taylor as Bishop of the Southern Region of the Diocese of Brisbane. Audio production and photos: Shirley Way

Preceded by a joyous peel of bells, Alison Menzies Taylor was consecrated as Brisbane’s first female Anglican bishop at St John’s Cathedral on Saturday.

As Bishop of the Southern Region of the Diocese of Brisbane, Bishop Taylor is responsible for 47 parishes from southern Brisbane to the Gold Coast.

Her role is to provide guidance to the minister and lay leaders in each.

“I look after them, I guide them, I assist them with their problems, I encourage them to be vigorous and alive in their faith and in their outreach.”

As one of three assistant bishops for the Diocese of Brisbane, she expects to be given a sector role as well – for example, a school or social service.

A former urban planner, 59-year-old Bishop Taylor has been a minister for 17 years and most recently held the dual roles of Archdeacon of Kew and Vicar of St Dunstan’s in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

“I had just taken on a newly-created role as Melbourne’s Archdeacon for International Partnerships when I received the call to Brisbane,” she said.

Describing the call to become bishop as a surprise, she said it was directly related to her experience as chair of Anglican Overseas Aid (formerly Anglicord) and as steering group member for the International Anglican Alliance for Development Relief and Advocacy.

While Bishop Taylor is the fourth woman bishop in Australia and the 34th worldwide, the Anglican Church in the United Kingdom is yet to appoint its first.

“The new Archbishop of Canterbury and the one who’s just retired have said it will be soon,” she said.

“The new Archbishop of Canterbury has also said that until there are women bishops appointed, he wants other senior women clerics to attend the bishops’ meetings and to take on more responsibility.

“I think he’s giving a very clear sign of how he intends for it to go. So – a year, two years, three years.”

Bishop Taylor’s celebrations included dinner with her husband, daughter and 60 friends who travelled from Melbourne and participation in Sunday’s service at St John’s Cathedral.

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