A woman from Sunderland is to be enthroned as the next Anglican Bishop of Waikato in New Zealand. The Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley is the first Church of England ordained female Bishop although she is no longer a member of the Church of England. She will become the seventh Bishop of Waikato.
On the same day, the new Bishop of Durham, The Right Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, will be enthroned at Durham Cathedral at a service of inauguration, where Helen-Ann served as an acolyte as a child.
Her parents Jim and Pat will be taking a special gift when they attend the service in New Zealand, a Cuthbert Durham Pectoral Cross, specially made by a Durham silversmith.
– Jim, Helen-Ann's father
"The Cuthbert Cross is a Bishop’s badge of office and a sign of her spiritual authority in her diocese. We are taking it as a gift, a sign of our thankfulness at how the people in her new diocese have recognised her talents.
“Growing up in Sunderland and Durham, the Diocese of Durham was Helen-Ann‘s formation. She is delighted that she will have a Durham Cuthbert cross.
“When she found out that her enthronement was on the same day that the new Bishop of Durham will be enthroned, she was delighted.”
– Pat, Helen-Ann's mother
“It is all linking in beautifully, transferring memories of her life here, where she got so much joy from serving, to her new life in Waikato.
“It is a beautiful coincidence that she will be enthroned on the same day as Bishop Paul is enthroned as Bishop of Durham. She is delighted.”
Bishop Helen-Ann was born in Edinburgh and moved with her family to Sunderland in 1975 when her father started working at Sunderland Polytechnic, now Sunderland University.
She is the fourth generation of her family to be ordained, and became a priest in 2005 in the Diocese of Oxford.