Colleagues farewelled Deaconess Margaret Rodgers yesterday as she retires after a career of almost 40 years in the Sydney Diocese.

The official Archbishop’s Farewell to Ms Rodgers, the Media Officer for Archbishop Peter Jensen for the past four years, was attended by 30 staff members and bishops.
Following the main course, all the guests gathered around Margaret and Archbishop Jensen. A floral tribute was presented with a large retirement card and a ceramic figurine.
In making the presentation Archbishop Jensen voiced his appreciation for the services rendered and sacrificial contributions made to the ministry of the Diocese.
Ms Rodgers thanked all for their well wishes and shared an amusing farewell speech.

“This is not the last you’ll see of me. I will be coming back! I’ve been given a Standing Committee ticket to the clergy parking area ... I’ll be coming back!” Ms Rodgers remarked.
The farewell also fell on the same day as Ms Rodgers' birthday.

When desserts were served following the presentation Ms Rodgers received a plate upon which "Happy Birthday' was written in chocolate.

An illustrious her-story

Ms Rodgers took on the role of Media Officer to Archbishop Peter Jensen in 2004, and also worked closely with Archbishop Harry Goodhew.

"They have been such amazing people to work with, both with great gifts and an incredible ability to relate to people in pastoral work and mission," she says.

Throughout her career, Ms Rodgers has worked with women students through to archbishops of foreign countries.

She succeeded Deaconess Mary Andrews as principal of Deaconess House from 1976 to 1985.

"It was a very difficult time for women in the Diocese," she recalls.

"It was the beginning of the movement for the ordination of women and this badly affected the work of women in the Diocese.

"Many, especially clergy, looked at them and thought they were radical feminists because of all the things that were written in the papers."

She also held the post of research officer for General Synod for nine years, filling a key media role at 1998's Lambeth Conference of world Anglican bishops.

Ms Rodgers was also CEO of the Anglican Media Council from 1994 to 2003, writing her last Opinion piece for SydAng this month.
"I've enjoyed writing the column and have been very gratified when people have commented to me on what I've written," she says.

Ms Rodgers served 10 years with the Christian Conference of Asia, five of which were as a general committee member, which gave her the opportunity to see Christians living in different circumstances.

"I went to places I never dreamed I would go, like Bangalore," she says.

"To see people living on the side of the road, it was mindboggling for a quiet untravelled deaconess from the Diocese of Sydney."

Ms Rodgers says she is looking forward to meeting up with friends and taking more time to relax in her retirement.

However she will remain an active member of her local church, St Stephen's, Newtown.

"I am so grateful for the growth in the parish at the moment and the things that are happening," she says.

She will continue to hold her positions on the board of World Vision, and Sydney's Standing Committee in the coming year. She will also remain on the board of directors on the Anglican Deaconess Institution (Sydney) Limited and will continue to record her radio program on 2CH.

Photos courtesy Ramon Williams / Worldwide Photos

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