REV LIBBY GILCHRIST: Priesthood trailblazer farewells the Border

THE BORDER’S first female Anglican priest is saying goodbye to the area.

Reverend Libby Gilchrist, who was ordained in 2005, will leave for the Mornington Peninsula with her husband, Stuart, in two weeks.

Mrs Gilchrist has worked in the Wangaratta diocese after living in the area for 36 years.

“It’s a big thing to leave the area,” she said.

“I’m fairly emotional.

“It’s a big thing to start a new phase in our lives.”

Archdeacon Peter MacLeod-Miller said the area had been “hostile grounds” when it came to female priests.

“This was one of the bastions of the movement against the ordination of women,” he said.

“It was a real dinosaur of a place.

“This particular church, St Matthew’s, was the epicentre of the big freeze.”

Mrs Gilchrist said some people had chosen not to accept communion from her.

“There have been a few tricky times, I’ll grant you,” she said.

Father MacLeod-Miller said she had managed to shift people’s views on the issue.

“There have been long-standing views against the ordination of women,” he said.

“You might say she’s been the face of a theological idea.”

Mrs Gilchrist farewelled worshippers at St Matthew’s yesterday.

Her final service will be held at St Paul’s in her home area of Allans Flat.