A former Principal of Deaconess House and a prominent figure in the Diocese of Sydney for more than 40 years, Deaconess Margaret Rodgers AM, has died.

Deaconess Rodgers suffered a heart attack and died early this morning (Saturday 31st May).

Archbishop Glenn Davies has paid tribute, describing Ms Rodgers as "a scholar of significant intellect" and "for many years the leading laywoman of the Diocese of Sydney. She made her mark not only on the Anglican Church in Sydney  but also on the National Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole."

Although she retired from her position as Archbishop's Media Officer in 2007, Deaconess Rodgers had previously been CEO of Anglican Media, served on the Social Issues Committee, Standing Committee, General Synod and various other boards and committees.

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

“Moore College owes a considerable debt to Deaconess Rodgers" said Moore's Principal Dr Mark Thompson "The College has lost a very dear friend.”

Ms Rodgers 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.

A regular columnist in the Southern Cross newspaper, Ms Rodgers was also heard on comment pieces for Radio 2CH over many years.

Only four months ago Deaconess Rodgers was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for "significant service to the Anglican Church of Australia through governance and representational roles, and to ecumenical affairs". 

"Margaret was passionate about women's ministry and particularly the order of deaconesses, eschewing the need to be ordained herself, as she was also passionate about lay ministry and provided the Diocese with a model of reason, compassion and servant leadership in the various ministries that she undertook" Archbishop Davies said.

"Margaret was also committed to her local church, where she was churchwarden and synod representative for many years, believing that the work of the gospel was best promoted at the grass roots, seeing people won to Christ and grow in their Christian faith."

Ms Rodgers was a long-time member of the congregation at St Stephen's, Newtown.

"A warrior for Christ, not ashamed of the gospel and not afraid to confront those with whom she disagreed, but always with a winsome smile and a heartfelt desire to see Christ honoured in all areas of life. She will long be remembered, but greatly missed" Dr Davies said.

A private funeral will be held early next week. A public Thanksgiving service will be held at St Andrew's Cathedral at 2pm on Thursday 19th June.

Photo courtesy Ramon Williams, Worldwide Photos

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