Diocese of Chester

Longest-serving C of E bishop to retire

Thu 25 Apr 2019
By Alex Williams

The Church of England's longest-serving bishop, Dr Peter Forster, says he will retire later this year and move to Scotland.

The Bishop of Chester will step down at the end of September, after more than 22 years spent in the role.

Writing to clergy, he said: "It has been a huge privilege to serve in this diocese, and I am looking forward to my final months in post.


"At 69 years old, I was beginning to feel ready to retire - with Elisabeth in strong agreement!

"We will move to our house in Scotland, which we have lovingly built over the past decade or so, and which is ready and waiting for us.

"The Diocese will always remain in our hearts, and in our prayers."

REX/Andrew Price


Earlier this month, Premier reported how Dr Peter was facing a potential complaint of serious misconduct over his response to a case of child sex abuse involving a vicar.

The complaint would concentrate on his response to a letter sent to him in 2009 by Warrington vicar Charles Gordon Dickenson which confessed to abuse.

Dickenson was jailed last month after admitting eight counts of sexual assault against a boy during the 1970s.

Diocese of Chester

Accepting that they failed to act on information they had received concerning Dickenson, bosses at the Diocese of Chester subsequently issued an "unreserved apology" to Mr Dickenson's victim.

An independent review of the Diocese of Chester by the Church of England's National Safeguarding Team was investigate what lessons can be learned.

In light of the review, Dr Peter said he was handing over responsibilities for safeguarding in his diocese to the Bishop of Birkenhead. Rt Rev Keith Sinclair will also become acting Bishop of Chester from the start of October.



A farewell service for Dr Peter is planned for Chester Cathedral on Saturday 20th July.

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