The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


Rt Rev Christopher Foster, the new Bishop of Portsmouth

Easter and Spring Edition 2010

The Rt Rev Christopher Foster has been appointed the new Church of England Bishop of Portsmouth. Bishop Christopher, 56, who is currently Bishop of Hertford in the St Albans diocese, will become the ninth Bishop of Portsmouth later this year. He succeeds the Rt Revd Dr Kenneth Stevenson, who was bishop for 14 years until he retired last autumn.

Bishop Christopher is looking forward to joining the diocese, but will not actually take up the role until he is officially installed as Bishop of Portsmouth at a special service in Portsmouth Cathedral later this year, at a date to be announced.

Bishop Christopher grew up in the industrial West Midlands and in Surrey before studying economics at Durham and Manchester Universities and briefly working as an economics lecturer.

He studied at Westcott House, Cambridge, before his ordination in 1980. He was a curate in Wolverhampton before he became chaplain of Wadham College, Oxford. He then became vicar of Christ Church, Southgate, in London (serving additionally as director of clergy continuing education), and then Sub Dean and residentiary canon at St Albans Cathedral in 1994.

He was consecrated as Bishop of Hertford in 2001, one of two suffragan (assistant) bishops to the Bishop of St Albans. He is Warden of Readers in the diocese, leading the training and work of licensed lay ministers, chairs the Mission and Pastoral Committee, and is especially involved with outreach among young people and the encouragement of their ministry and leadership.

In the wider community and Church he has been a working trustee and is now patron of a local media trust, chairs the finance committee of the University of Hertfordshire, chaired Churches Together in Hertfordshire and represents the Church of England at Churches Together in England.

He has a particular interest in the mission and ministry of the church in the 21st century through the work of lay and ordained Christians, which echoes the diocese’s current commitment to creating a new strategy for lay and ordained ministry to meet new challenges.

He is a keen Wolves fan and is looking forward to what may be a crucial relegation battle with Portsmouth at Fratton Park in May.

He married Sally four years ago following the death of his first wife, Julia, in 2001. He has two grown-up children, Richard and Miriam.

The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Dr Alan Smith, said: “Chris is a man of deep prayer, in whom there is an infectious enthusiasm for the furthering of God’s work. St Albans diocese has benefited immeasurably from his ministry and mission.”