The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd Graham Dow, is to retire with effect from 30th April 2009.
Bishop Graham will have been Bishop of Carlisle for a little over eight years - he began work here at the beginning of December 2000. Before that, he was Area Bishop of Willesden for 8 years, and before that Vicar of Holy Trinity, Coventry, for 11 years. (Further biographical details below.)
He celebrates the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on 29th Sept 2008, with a service at 8am in Carlisle Cathedral.
His farewell service will be in Carlisle Cathedral on Saturday 28th March2009 at 2.30 pm.
He actually finishes working in the Diocese on 31st March 2009, and then fulfils commitments in the House of Lords in April.
Achievements in the Diocese
In his time here, Bishop Graham has overseen a number of significant initiatives, most importantly ¢â‚¬Å“From Survival to Revival¢â‚¬?, along with a widening of clergy and lay ministry, a programme of deanery missions and the training of people in the ministry of healing.
¢â‚¬Å“From Survival to Revival¢â‚¬? encouraged parishes to grow by asking each parish to think of things it could do in six areas: discipleship, ministry, mission, youth, giving, worship. Then, from this longer list, parishes were asked to choose two to tackle that year. In the four years it has been running, therefore, many parishes in the Diocese have done eight or more projects; these have included improving access to churches, installing toilets, starting youth services and services for those less used to coming to church, developing displays for tourists, etc.
The widening of ministry has had two focuses. First, Bishop Graham has enabled a wider variety of the use of clergy - with some job-sharing and part-time working as well as a greater use of Non-Stipendiary (ie unpaid, voluntary) clergy, and house-for-duty posts (in return for a house, a priest would work in a parish for three days each week). Second, he has encouraged the development of lay people in ministry. He has enabled this through a scheme called Commissioned Lay Ministry, under which the Bishop gives to lay people, who have begun to use their gifts and grow in confidence, a commission to a wide variety of tasks in the church - allowing them to develop still further.
Bishop Graham has also led courses training people in prayer for healing. Over 400 people have been through this training and many more churches offer healing prayer.
Bishop Graham has sometimes had a controversial public profile largely because he seeks to remind us of our accountability to God for our lives. His main point - not well understood - is that the way we behave has consequences not only at an external level for the world, but at moral and spiritual levels as well. The worldly level is obvious enough - we have been careless about the environment, and this has caused global warming and climate change. At the moral level, the Bishop argues that private life-style and public responsibility cannot be separated. He wants us to see that the privatisation of lifestyle (the idea that how I live is ¢â‚¬Å“my choice¢â‚¬?) - with the setting aside of marriage and the breakdown of families - is inseparable from the problems of anti-social behaviour, drug-abuse, alcohol abuse and violent crime and the increase in mental health problems. The sense of any accountability beyond ourselves for our lives has been lost. At the spiritual level, God is continually sustaining the natural order and through it wants to bless us. However, when we act against God's will, we are unable to receive the whole fullness of his blessings, and things will go less well with us. Our relationships with one another, with God and with his natural order will all be seriously affected.
The Right Reverend (Geoffrey) Graham Dow Born 4th July 1942 Educated: 1947 ¢â‚¬â€œ 1954 St George¢â‚¬â„¢s School, Harpenden and 1954 ¢â‚¬â€œ 1960 St Albans School Queens College Oxford 1960 ¢â‚¬â€œ 1966 leading to MA Chemistry and Theology; MSc. Chemistry Birmingham University 1972-1974 (part time) leading to Diploma in Pastoral Studies Nottingham University 1975-1982 (part time) leading to M Phil Theological Training: Clifton Theological College 1966
Ordained deacon 1967 priest 1968 bishop 1992
Curacy at St Peter & St Paul Tonbridge, Rochester Diocese 1967 - 1972 Chaplain, St John¢â‚¬â„¢s College Oxford, 1972 ¢â‚¬â€œ1975 Lecturer (in Christian Doctrine), St John¢â‚¬â„¢s College, Nottingham 1975- 1981 Vicar, Holy Trinity, Coventry 1981 ¢â‚¬â€œ 1992 Canon Theologian at Coventry Cathedral 1988 - 1992 Area Bishop of Willesden 1992 ¢â‚¬â€œ 2000 Chair of London Church Leaders Executive 1997 - 2000 Bishop of Carlisle 2000 - 2009
Bishop Graham is married to Molly, a teacher (also with a degree in Chemistry and diploma in Theology) and a lay Reader. She has been the Diocesan Spirituality Adviser; she leads retreats and courses in prayer and has a ministry in Spiritual Direction. They have four adult children: Alastair, Jamie, Lindsay, and Michael.
Bishop Graham¢â‚¬â„¢s interests include Christian Faith and Daily Work, Christian Healing Ministry, Christianity and Politics, Europe, Charismatic Renewal, and the development of Lay Ministry. Amongst his hobbies he includes railways (especially steam and narrow gauge), travel, music, and reading biographies. Bishop Graham has published a number of books including, ¢â‚¬Å“A Christian Understanding of Daily Work¢â‚¬? (Grove 1994) and ¢â‚¬Å“Pathways of Prayer¢â‚¬? (for Lent 1997) (DLT 1996)
For more information about the process of appointing a new Bishop, click here