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Vicar and former teacher new chair of Diocesan Board of Education

A Carlisle vicar – and former teacher – has been appointed the new chair of the Diocese of Carlisle’s Board of Education.

The Rev'd Andrew Towner is the new chair of the Diocesan Board of EducationThe Rev’d Andrew Towner has been in the diocese since 2014 and is the Vicar of St John’s Houghton with St Peter’s Kingmoor, to the north of the city.

Prior to ordination the 40-year-old taught maths at schools in Kent and Essex before attending Oak Hill Theological College and serving his curacy at a church plant in Christ Church in Mayfair, central London. He was later Associate Vicar at Christ Church in Beckenham in Kent before moving to Cumbria. Andrew is married to Katie and the couple have three young children.

Andrew said: “I am honoured and excited to accept Bishop James’ appointment to chair the Diocesan Board of Education. This is a thrilling time of real opportunity across Cumbria, with our commitment together to reach out to those around us with the love of God in Jesus Christ. Schools are at the very centre of many communities, and can therefore be significant hubs within our commitment to enabling everyone in this county to learn more of God and his purpose for their lives.

“The call to discipleship and ministry, for me, has often revolved around the two greatest commandments: love for God and neighbour. Our schools are a very natural place for local Christians and church communities to express this - just as so many teachers, support staff and governors already do.

“The Diocesan Board of Education has a direct role to play with about a third of the schools in Cumbria, as well as a vision for all young people in education. My desire is to encourage and support all who serve, to strengthen our schools, and to help us all work together in a challenging and changing environment for education.

“To paraphrase Confucius: "If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for ten years plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years educate children.” Few things can be more important or strategically significant here in Cumbria than the work of the DBE. Your ongoing prayers in all we do will be greatly appreciated.”

The Diocesan Board of Education works closely with its 105-strong church school family, providing support and resources for Head Teachers, governors, staff and clergy.

The DBE’s mission in growing disciples is to enable schools in partnership with churches to be the places that deliver the best outcomes for children and their families educationally, spiritually and emotionally within a Christian context, to support and equip the churches in their work with children and young people and to enable young people to have access to an innovative Network Youth Church programme and intern scheme.

The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev’d James Newcome, said: “We are delighted that Andrew has agreed to take up this hugely important post.

“He brings to the role a wonderful mix of deep faith and mission married with a real understanding of the educational system from his years in teaching. Our prayers are that, through that mix and Andrew’s leadership as chair of the DBE, we will continue to grow disciples through our church school family.”


For further information contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at


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