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Bishop’s Chaplain announces retirement

After 40 years ministering in the north of England, the chaplain to the Bishop of Carlisle is to retire.

Bishop's Chaplain and Chief of Staff, The Ven George HoweNext month, the Ven George Howe will celebrate four decades since his Ordination with 25 of those years working in Cumbria.

Now George has announced he is to retire at the end of September.

He said: “There have been plenty of joys and a few challenges along the way. The greatest joy for me is to have been able to help people in their journey with Christ.

“That has been the essence of it for me, both as a pastor in parish ministry but also in more senior roles.

“A huge priority of mine, through my ministry, has also been the work with other denominations. We have now got to a point – particularly with the Methodist and United Reformed Churches – where we’re working very closely together. This has been enormously important to me.”

Since 2011, George has acted as the Bishop’s Chaplain and Chief of Staff as well as taking on further responsibilities as Diocesan Director of Ordinands.

He was ordained in May 1975 and completed two curacies in the Diocese of Durham, where he was also the Vicar of Hart and Elwick, near Hartlepool. From 1985 to 1991 he was the Rector of Sedgefield – which brought him into contact with the town’s MP Tony Blair – and where he also served as Rural Dean.

In 1991 he moved to the Diocese of Carlisle, and was Vicar of Holy Trinity, Kendal, for nine years, six of those as Rural Dean.

In 2000 he was appointed Archdeacon of Westmorland and Furness, a position he remained in for 11 years before becoming the Bishop’s Chaplain, working from Bishop’s House in Keswick.

George added: “As many dioceses as there are in the Church of England, so there are as many different models for the job of Bishop’s Chaplain.

“I consider my role has been to oversee the running of the Bishop’s Office and to contribute as a member of the Bishop’s Senior Leadership Team towards the development of the vision to grow disciples. As Chaplain, I’m there to support Bishop James’ ministry at that level as best I can.

“Whenever we’re both together here at Bishop’s House, we begin each working day by saying Morning Prayer together. That has been a way to support each other and has been a huge privilege for me.”

George will step down from the Church of England’s General Synod in July after 14 years, as well as relinquishing roles on the Council for Christian Unity. He also served the national Church as Chair of the Church and Community Fund until 2013.

The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome, said: “It has been a great pleasure and privilege to work alongside George for the last five years.

“On a personal level, he has been a constant source of support, providing wise counsel and tremendous spiritual succour. That has also seen him draw alongside countless other people across our county, to help and support them in their journeys with Christ.

“After what will have been 40 years in ministry, I know George’s many friends and colleagues across the diocese and further afield will wish both him and his wife, Jane, a wonderful retirement together.”

And though he admits that he is ready for a change of pace and to be freed from daily deadlines, George says it will be a wrench to leave.

He added: “I will miss the companionship and the huge privilege of serving in such a wonderful place. I have had an opportunity to get to know Cumbria very well over the last 25 years and I appreciate just how diverse a county it is.

“It has been a fantastic honour to work amongst the people of Cumbria and to experience the diversity of population – those people whose families have been here for generations and the new-comers – that brings such a richness to this county.”



Notes to editors

The Ven George Howe will retire on 30 September, 2015. He and his wife Jane will relocate to the village of Bosbury, near Ledbury in Herefordshire.


For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01228 815401 or at

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