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Ross Bay chosen as Auckland’s new Anglican bishop

For immediate release
December 6, 2009

Ross Bay chosen as Auckland’s new Anglican bishop

The Very Reverend Ross Bay, Dean of Parnell’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, has been elected as the new Anglican Bishop of Auckland.

He will now be seen as more evidence that the Church is placing its trust in a new generation of leaders – because, at the age of 44, he’s been chosen to lead the country’s largest Anglican diocese. More than 170,000 Anglicans, almost one third of New Zealand’s Anglican population, live in the Diocese of Auckland.

Ross Bay was born and raised in Papatoetoe and went to Papatoetoe High School before starting his working life at the Bank of New Zealand. After his theological training, he served as an assistant priest at the Cathedral from 1990 to 1992.

After a period overseas, which included postgraduate study, he then spent six years as the Vicar of Ellerslie, before becoming the Vicar of St Mark’s Remuera in 2001. He was commissioned as Archdeacon of Auckland in 2006, and in 2007 he was appointed Dean and Vicar General (the person who stands in for the bishop when he’s away).

Ross took up the dean’s post in November 2007 – and less than two months later he was thrust into the international spotlight.

Ed Hillary had died, and the Cathedral was chosen for his state funeral, and the Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral quickly became one of the better known faces in the Anglican Church.

Ross Bay’s cathedral experiences have also given him another conviction that, as bishop, he wants to underline: that Anglicans need to grasp that they belong to something much bigger and wider than just their local parish.

“The bishop is a visible reminder,” he says, “that local Anglicans in one place do have connections with a much wider reality.

“We’re not just this little group in this particular parish. We also belong to something much wider than that: the diocese, the three Tikanga church here in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the worldwide Anglican Communion. The bishop helps remind people of those connections.”

Another way Ross will exercise his leadership as Anglican Bishop of Auckland is by speaking out in the public square.

That was a task expected of him as dean, he says. But the bishop has a different task to perform.

“The bishop is a focus for unity for the diocese,” he says. “People are not guaranteed to like what you have to say, so there’s a risk there.

“But I believe that’s a risk worth taking.

“Because the greater risk is of the church being silent.

“And that’s a risk that’s not worth taking.

“We’ve had some great moments as a church – standing up against the 81 tour, the Hikoi of Hope in 1998… moments which say a lot about us as a church, and say what we’re prepared to stand for. But the Church needs to maintain a more regular engagement and visibility.”

Ross is married to Jacquie, who works in science education. In his spare time, he works as a volunteer member of the Auckland Fire Police, plays squash, enjoys tramping in the mountains, and walking with their two golden retriever dogs.

The present Bishop of Auckland, John Paterson, will retire in March next year.

A date has yet to be set for the ordination and installation of Ross Bay, the 11th Bishop of Auckland.

Notes to Editors:

1. Ross was nominated as the next bishop by an ‘Electoral College’ which met in the Parnell cathedral for two days in early November. More than 350 diocesan representatives gathered for that – and their nomination of Ross was then approved by the bishops of the church and confirmed in a postal ballot of members of the General Synod of the wider Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

2. The Anglican Diocese of Auckland includes Auckland, Northland and the northern part of the Waikato Region – including the Coromandel Peninsula, and the Hauraki Plains.

3. In Anglican terminology, a cathedral dean carries the title: Very Reverend. Once Ross has been ordained and ‘installed’ as Bishop, he will become: The Right Reverend Ross Bay, Bishop of Auckland.


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