Bishop Barbara Darling was raised in Sydney and was a trained teacher/librarian (BA, Dip Ed.), obtaining her theological degree through Ridley College Melbourne (Th.L First class honours) where she worked as a lecturer and librarian for 12 years. During this time she was the honorary assistant at St John’s Heidelberg (eight years) as a Trained Woman Worker and obtained her MA in Australian Church history at Melbourne University. In May 1986 Barbara was ordained as a deacon and in 1989 she was appointed to Ascot Vale parish as minister in charge. She was then in the first group of women to be ordained priest in December 1992.
Bishop Barbara is keen to support and enhance the ministry of women and men, both ordained and lay.
Bishop Barbara was appointed Vicar at Sandringham in 1995, and then St James’ Dandenong in 2005. She attended Women’s Cursillo at its initial weekend in Melbourne in 1993 and is a keen supporter of that movement. Bishop Barbara was elected a Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral in October 1995 and is now the Senior Canon. She was also an examining chaplain to the Archbishop for ten years from 1998.
Bishop Barbara was consecrated Bishop at St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne on 31 May 2008 (the second woman priest to be consecrated Bishop in Australia, and the first in Melbourne). Initially her role as Bishop for Diocesan Ministries included the oversight of various ministry areas of the Diocese – locums, youth, children and families, and multicultural, including pastoral responsibility for health and welfare, tertiary and school chaplaincies.
In July 2009 when Bishop Stephen Hale moved from being Bishop to parish ministry, Bishop Barbara was appointed as the next Bishop of the Eastern Region. This area includes sixty-six parishes stretching from Whittlesea and Kinglake in the north to Rowville and Ferntree Gully in the south and from Warburton in the east to Hawthorn and Kew in the west.
Bishop Barbara has Episcopal oversight for school and tertiary chaplaincies and was for three years the Deputy Chair of the Anglican Diocesan Schools Commission and a member of the Ridley College Board of Reference. She enjoys meeting people, classical and sacred music, reading (particularly historical novels and biographies), enjoying God’s creation, photography and films. With many years of living at Ridley College near Princes Park, she is a Carlton AFL supporter.
Bishop Barbara is keen to support and enhance the ministry of women and men, both ordained and lay. She is enjoying interacting with the varied people and ministries in the Eastern Region. She seeks to encourage and lead them as they share the Good News of Christ with the church, school, tertiary institutions, kindergartens and early learning centres, hospital and wider communities, both within the region and beyond.