Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth announces he will retire in early 2021

THE Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth has announced he will retire.

Sunday, 13th December 2020, 1:01 pm
Updated Sunday, 13th December 2020, 1:42 pm

The Rt Rev Christopher Foster delayed resigning from his job leading the Diocese of Portsmouth due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bishop Christopher, 67, made the announcement on the same day his wife, Canon Sally Davenport, told worshippers she was resigning from Holy Trinity and St Columba churches in Fareham.

He is set to leave the post by April 2021.

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The Rt Rev Christopher Foster announced on December 13 2020 that he is to retire as Bishop of Portsmouth.

‘It has been a privilege to serve as bishop in this diocese for over a decade, he said. ‘Because we are a small diocese with a family feel, our clergy and lay people have been able to collaborate effectively and respond quickly to changing circumstances – as the past year has shown.

‘Over the past 10 years, I have seen courage, generosity and resourcefulness as our congregations have faithfully shared God’s love, through prayer, worship and serving others. I look forward to working with those fellow disciples over the coming months to continue discovering what the post-Covid Church will look like as we renew our commitment to respond collaboratively in changing times.

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‘It may seem surprising that I should make this announcement just before Christmas, but the timing means that the period that the Diocese of Portsmouth will be without a diocesan bishop will be as short as possible.

‘Thank you to all those who have prayed for us and worked alongside us over the past 10 years, in the churches and communities of south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Sally and I will be sorry to leave so many valued friends and colleagues.’

The bishop and his wife, who was team rector in Fareham, will retire together to Somerset.

Dad-of-two Bishop Christopher has been in the role since 2010, and was previously Bishop of Hertford in 2001.

He succeeded the Rt Revd Dr Kenneth Stevenson when he became the ninth Church of England bishop in Portsmouth.

During lockdown he has live-streamed Sunday worship from his home in Fareham together with his wife.

He was introduced to the House of Lords as a Lord Spiritual in 2014.

In 2018 he raised concerns about cuts to free school meals for children, and in February this year opposed plans to reform divorce over fears simplifying the process would 'remove the opportunity' for reflection and reconciliation.

A new bishop will be appointed by the prime minister on behalf of the Queen. The person will first be named by the Crown Nominations Commission.

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