Swansong for South Sydney stalwart
In the same place he was consecrated Bishop of South Sydney fifteen years ago, Robert Forsyth has been farewelled to retirement.
Friends, family and clergy colleagues gathered in St Andrew's Cathedral on Thursday, 10th December, to give thanks for Bishop Forsyth's 40 years in ministry.
Known as the 'Grumpy Bishop' for his 'Bah, Humbug!' Southern Cross columns or the 'Media Bishop' for his many TV and radio appearances, Bishop Forsyth was senior bishop, having been elected by Synod in 2000.
In paying tribute, Archbishop Glenn Davies said Bishop Forsyth had made a significant contribution to Christian ministry through his work on many diocesan committees and said it was fitting that his thanksgiving service had been from 'Common Prayer'. the book produced by the Archbishop’s Liturgical Panel and which the bishop had chaired.
He spoke of his winsome media appearances and even that he had 'put some journalists in their place'.
Bishop Forsyth and his wife Margie had ministered in various posts including Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains, Holy Trinity Adelaide, and St Barnabas’, Broadway as well as the Sydney University Chaplaincy.
While at St Barnabas, he conducted a well-publicised 'billboard battle' with the hotel opposite the church, with the bishop and the publican trading slogans on their respective billboards.
At Synod in October, Archbishop Davies also gave a personal thanks to Bishop Forsyth noting that, with 15 years at the helm in South Sydney, Bishop Forsyth was not only longest-serving bishop of any region, he was also the longest-serving clergy member of Standing Committee (1990) and “an engaging and respected member” of Synod since 1983.
There were also tributes for the personal care and support from Bishop and Mrs Forsyth for clergy of the South Sydney region and their families.
In a lighter moment, the Rector of Annandale, Dominic Steele, lamenting the fact the bishop had no cathedral, presented him with a red plastic chair which he said had been nominated as the bishop's chair in what they joked was 'the cathedral of South Sydney'.
In a final response to the tributes, the Bishop told the congregation "If any of you I have wronged in my ministry as bishop, I ask your forgiveness - if I have done you any good, I pray that God will nurture that to bring fruit at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ."
Bishop Forsyth's replacement, Bishop Michael Stead, takes over at the end of the year.
Feature photo: Archbishop Davies and Bishop Forsyth embrace as he is presented with a farewell gift from the Diocese.