A warm smile and a ready handshake was everywhere as the new Bishop of Western Sydney was consecrated at St John's Cathedral in Parramatta on Friday night, 20th December.
The Reverend Gary Siew Leong Koo was one of their own and many western Sydney clergy and congregation members came out to see him consecrated at the regional Cathedral. A Hawaiian shirt was even spotted in the congregation.
There was a 'sorry/not sorry' moment when Archbishop Glenn Davies apologised to the congregation of Saint Paul's Carlingford and North rocks where Mr Koo has been Rector for the past seven years. "I took him from you but gave him back as your Bishop," Archbishop Davies joked.
The serious business of the night was emphasised by Bishop Peter Lin the Bishop of Georges River who spoke from John 10 about the responsibilities of a Bishop. Bishop Lin led a youth group with Bishop Koo, thirty years ago. "The most important job in under-shepherding is that the sheep hear the voice of the chief Shepherd," Bishop Lin said. "If you are not feeding the sheep with the word of God, you are not feeding them " he said, referring to the reason that a new Bishop is handed a Bible during the consecration.
Guests included Bishop Jay Behan, Bishop of the Diocese of the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa/New Zealand. The new Bishop of Bathurst Mark Calder was prevented from attending by bushfires cutting the highway in the Blue Mountains, which is part of the Western Sydney region. There were prayers for those facing the fires both in the Western region and in the south-west of Sydney, at Wollondilly.
The previous Bishop of Western Sydney, Ivan Lee, has a new role to work on strengthening church growth in the Diocese. Bishop Lee is held in great affection in the west and will be farewelled in February. But judging by the long line of well-wishers for Bishop Koo at the end of the service, the people of Western Sydney will be just as welcoming to their new Bishop.￼￼