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Dunedin Bishop announces retirement

Dunedin Bishop announces retirement

The Anglican Bishop of Dunedin, the Right Reverend Dr Penny Jamieson, has announced her retirement from the end of this June.

In a letter to Anglicans in Southland and Otago Dr Jamieson says that after 14 years as Bishop of Dunedin she believes it is time for new leadership to carry the Diocese into the years ahead.

Her husband, Ian Jamieson, also retires in June from a teaching position at the University of Otago. "It is time now for us to return to Wellington to our young families and to be there for them," Bishop Penny writes.

Her election in 1989 as the first woman diocesan bishop in the Anglican Communion was an historic leap forward for women’s ministry in the worldwide church. Since then 6 other dioceses in the United States and Canada have followed New Zealand’s lead with a total of 11 women now serving as bishops.

In her letter Bishop Penny says it has been a privilege to serve as Bishop of Dunedin for so long. "These have been turbulent years. We have been obliged, for the sake of the Gospel, to make some radical changes in the way we organize our Diocese and that has been both disruptive and exciting. I have so deeply enjoyed watching so many of you grow strong in your understanding and love of Jesus and in your willingness and ability to serve Him faithfully and creatively.

"There have been times of real pleasure and there have been times when the burden has seemed impossibly hard. However, throughout, I have known and have come to trust profoundly the strength of my relationship with God and I trust some of that has rubbed off on others.

"We have so much enjoyed our travels around this unique part of New Zealand, we have appreciated such warm hospitality and made some wonderful friends. We have come to love you all dearly. This Diocese and all its people are very dear to me and will always remain so. I will forever hold you in my prayers," Bishop Penny writes.

The Right Reverend John Paterson, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, said he had accepted Bishop Penny's resignation with sincere regret, "but I wholeheartedly support and understand her decision to retire at the time her husband, Ian, is to retire from his teaching post at the University of Otago."

The Presiding Bishop said Dr Jamieson had exercised a "courageous and pioneering ministry" as the Anglican Communion's first woman Diocesan Bishop.

"The Church has much to be thankful for in the way she has contributed to its life, its mission and its ministry over the fourteen years of her episcopacy. Within the Diocese of Dunedin there have been many achievements and milestones, and on the national and international levels Bishop Penny has offered wisdom, insight and leadership in a number of committees and commissions.

"I wish Bishop Penny well as she completes her time in the Diocese, and as she enters a well-earned retirement at the end of June 2004," Bishop Paterson said.

The Vicar-General of the Diocese of Dunedin, the Ven. Dr Kelvin Wright, said Bishop Penny would be retiring with the good will and gratitude of the diocese.

"The diocese is full of people whose talents have flourished through the mentoring provided by Bishop Jamieson. She is widely recognised as a role model for women's leadership, but men too, have thrived during her episcopacy.

"The principles which undergirded her ministry, and the structures she developed are the legacy she leaves to the generation which follows her, and will be the basis for the development of the diocese during the coming decade,' said Dr Wright.

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