Photo Credit: Janine Eastgate / Anglican Media Melbourne
History was made in Melbourne on Saturday with the consecration of the second in a pair of brother-and-sister bishops – the first such pairing in the Anglican Communion; and possibly in the global Church. Bishop Lindsay Urwin was consecrated as Area Bishop of Horsham in the Church of England’s Diocese of Chichester in 1993. Last weekend his sister, Kate Prowd, was consecrated as an assistant bishop in the Church of Australia’s Diocese of Melbourne.
Bishop Lindsay has spent most of his ministry in England. He was ordained in 1980 and consecrated Area Bishop of Horsham when he was aged 37. In 2009, he became Administrator of the national Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham while remaining an honorary assistant bishop in Chichester as well as in the dioceses that cover East Anglia. He remains an honorary assistant bishop in the Diocese of Norwich but returned to Australia in 2015 to be vicar of Christ Church in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick and to be the bishop with a care for the ministry in Anglican schools.
Bishop Kate was among the first women to be ordained deacon in Melbourne in 1986 and as priest in 1992. She has combined ministry as a school chaplain and associate priest in parishes with professional duties as a clinical psychologist, using her expertise to be an examining chaplain and conduct psychological assessments for ordination aspirants. She succeeds Bishop Philip Huggins – who is retiring as he nears his 70th birthday this month – in caring for the Oodthenong Episcopate of the Melbourne diocese, covering the northern and western growth areas of Melbourne as well as Geelong.
Bishop Lindsay holds the traditional theological position on women’s ordination and did not join other bishops in the act of consecration. But in a touching personal exchange he presented his sister with the pectoral cross that their parents gave him at his consecration almost 25 years earlier. During the service he sat with other family members on the front pew of Melbourne’s St Paul’s Cathedral. “The joy of brother and sister on this day was evident, both inside St Paul’s and as they posed for photographs outside the Cathedral and responded to greetings after the service,” Anglican Media Melbourne reported.
Bishop Kate is married to Roger Prowd, an Anglican priest, and the couple have three daughters – Phoebe, Cordelia and Eleanor. During the service she was was presented with the episcopal staff that belonged to the first women ordained a bishop for the Melbourne diocese, the late Bishop Barbara Darling.
The Diocese of Melbourne is headed by Archbishop Philip Freier, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia. Bishop Kate is one of four assistant bishops in the diocese, alongside Genieve Blackwell, Paul Barker and Brad Billings.