PERTH, Australia Australia's Anglican Church consecrated the country's first female bishop in a ceremony attended by hundreds but opposed by some prominent church leaders.
Archdeacon Kay Goldsworthy was elevated to assistant bishop in the Diocese of Perth in a May 22 ceremony at St. George's Cathedral.
Today, a second woman bishop will be consecrated in Australia, when Canon Barbara Darling becomes assistant bishop in the Diocese of Melbourne.
Australia's Anglican leaders last month set protocols for the consecration of female bishops, allowing parishes that do not accept women in the job to be provided male leadership.
More than 20 Anglican bishops from Australia and other countries were among the 800 well-wishers at Goldsworthy's consecration. Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, head of the Anglican Church of Australia, preached at the ceremony.
But Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen and Northwest Australia Bishop David Mulready, who oppose ordaining women, did not attend. Sydney is Australia's largest diocese.
Fourteen of the 38 Anglican provinces worldwide have approved the ordination of women bishops, but 10 have yet to appoint or elect one.
Outside of Australia, the three other Anglican provinces with women bishops are the U.S. Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.
Two years ago, the Episcopal Church elected its first female national leader, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. Jefferts Schori was the first woman elected to lead a national province of the 77 million-member global Anglican Communion.
Goldsworthy, 51, who is married with two sons, was ordained in 1992 and was among the first female Anglican priests in the country.
With 3.9 million members, the Anglican Church of Australia is the second-largest religious denomination in the country after the Roman Catholic Church.