Bishop Barbara Darling, a pioneer of women’s ministry and the first woman to be consecrated a bishop in Victoria, died on Sunday, 15 February. Ridley friends, Stephen Hale and Peter Adam share their memories here.
From Bishop Stephen Hale
Stephen is Lead Minister of St Hilary’s and Ridley Board Member.
Bishop Barbara Darling grew up in Sydney and after a teaching career came to Melbourne to study theology at Ridley College. After graduation she stayed on at the College as a tutor, librarian and lecturer. She was a pioneer in women’s ministry in terms of her three ordinations – Deacon, Priest and Bishop.
Bishop Barbara had a generous and gracious spirit. While she never swayed from her evangelical roots she had a wider ministry, which was evidenced by the respect she showed for others. Bishop Barbara was a sound and encouraging preacher and her parish visits were always well received. Bishop Barbara had an eye for detail and enjoyed her role as minute secretary of the General Synod.
Bishop Barbara was an encourager who always sought to highlight the positive in a situation. She went out of her way to follow up with people and to offer a gentle word of blessing or a suggestion of advice.
Bishop Barbara was always proud of her links with Ridley College and spoke fondly of her time there. Bishop Barbara’s passing is a great sadness to all who knew her. We celebrate her love of the gospel and God’s word and her faithful service of her Lord and Saviour. Her passing is too soon but we are comforted by the knowledge that she now enjoys eternal peace in God’s hands.
From Peter Adam
Peter is Vicar Emeritus of St Jude’s Carlton, a Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, and a former Principal of Ridley.
We thank God for Barbara. She really enjoyed her time at Ridley as student and lecturer, and would often speak very warmly of the welcome she received and of her happy memories of her life at Ridley.
I have worked with Barbara in the Diocese and especially on the Cathedral Chapter. She was always a person of dignity and integrity, and worked hard in service of our gracious God.
We shared an interest in Australian church history, and she was always happy to share her perspectives.
Barbara was a person who demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit in her life and ministry. She was a person of love, joy, peace; patience, kindness, generosity; and faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We praise God for her and for her ministry.