The 2012 Synod has ended on an emotional note as Archbishop Peter Jensen left the chair for the last time as President of the Synod.

After a five day meeting which began with his 'Last words' Presidential Address, the final hour of the Synod was devoted to a motion which said in part "Synod takes this opportunity to express its admiration for the way in which Dr Jensen has presided over this and preceding Synods during the 12 years of his term of office". 

Dr Jensen vacated the President's chair and Synod delegates gave him the first of two standing ovations as he went to the public gallery and walked back to the front row with his wife Christine. 

Canon Rick Smith then began the speeches by paying tribute to Mrs Jensen, saying "We would not have the archbishop that we have if he didn’t have the wife that he has..." Several speeches mentioned Mrs Jensen's contribution to the life of the diocese, to Mother's Union with, as Canon Smith put it, "admiration and affection for Christine's warmth, tirelessness and wisdom."







The motion moved and spoken to by several Synod members gave "thanks to Almighty God for the life and work of the President, his evangelical faith, his sharp mind, his wise counsel, his leadership of us in reaching the lost of Sydney and Wollongong through the Diocesan Mission, his representation of the Christian gospel to the secular world and the huge increase in the number of gospel workers who have been raised up during his episcopacy."

Canon Smith spoke of Dr Jensen's public ministry "At every opportunity Peter has called us and invited others to love Jesus Christ."

"Over the years we have travelled with Peter in thought and prayer to some amazing places" he said. "From Jerusalem for Gafcon to the belly of a fish in Peter's Connect09 message beamed throughout the diocese and in that Connect09 sermon Peter reminded us that God can shake a region with the gospel..."

Canon Smith finished his speech with the words of Dr Jensen recently on the ABC Q and A program "Well, the last word is that in Jesus Christ we have that equality and in Jesus Christ we have that salvation and all I can say is that the love of God for everyone, no matter who they are, no matter how they've lived or whatever, is the greatest reality in the world."

Dr and Mrs Jensen sat in the front row, enjoying the light-hearted moments including one from the Rev Gavin Parsons, who described himself as 'Class of '96' who read part of the Walt Whitman poem 'O Captain! My Captain!'.

He was also presented with a pair of pyjamas, a reference to the overnight visits of rectors during 2009 known as PJ's at PJ's. 







Robert Tong, a childhood friend, Chair of the Property Trust and long-time Synod and standing committee member, spoke of Dr Jensen's leadership of Committees for more than a decade.

"As president of this Synod and chairman of the Standing Committee you have combined and exhibited the procedural precision and gravitas of Marcus Loane, the theological acumen of Don Robinson and the avuncular demeanour of Harry Goodhew" he said.

But the most emotional tributes came from several lay and clergy Synod members who praised the Archbishop's work as a pastor.

This was summed up by the rector of Fairfield and Bossley Park, the Rev Peter Lin, who spoke of Dr Jensen consoling him in a time of tragedy. "He didn't even ask about the details, he was just asking about me and how I was. It just amazes me in all that he has to think about with the diocese and the things that are going on in Australia, and in the world, he still cares about people and people as individuals."

Dr Jensen expressed his gratitude to the speakers and to the Synod. 







"This is a synodical Church and that is an immensely important gift from God to us. If I have done anything of the sort that has been talked of tonight it is because of the team of people who have made it possible and I am so grateful. My life has been rich in friendship and it is out of that friendship that if anything has happened, then God be has happened" the Archbishop said.

Another standing ovation followed Dr Jensen's rising from the President's chair for the last time. (pictured below)







There'll be full Synod coverage and pictures in November Southern Cross.

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