Diocese of Portsmouth

Worshippers gathered at our cathedral with Bishop Christopher

About the Diocese of Portsmouth

Founded relatively recently, in 1927, the Diocese of Portsmouth combines very diverse communities, ranging from much densely populated and relatively deprived city and coastal areas to some very rural places. The Diocese of Portsmouth is one of 41 dioceses in the Church of England and is geographically one of the smaller dioceses; it covers 408 square kilometres, and has a population of 766,000.

It consists of:

  • 172 churches
  • 139 parishes (in south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight)
  • 163 clergy posts (of which 52 are self-supporting)
  • 72 licensed lay ministers
  • 13,500 weekly worshippers
  • 41 C of E schools
  • 4 academies
  • 6 affiliated schools

There are 4 distinct communities:

  • The city of Portsmouth and island of Portsea
  • The so-called A3(M)/M27 corridor (Gosport, Fareham and Havant)
  • The rural areas around Petersfield, East Meon, and Bishop’s Waltham
  • The Isle of Wight

Each diocese comes under the authority of a Bishop. Our Bishop, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, is the ninth Bishop of Portsmouth, and was welcomed into our diocese in September 2010. There are no suffragan bishops.

The routine management of the clergy and parishes is overseen by three Archdeacons:

  • The Archdeacon of the Meon: The Ven Gavin Collins
  • The Archdeacon of Portsdown: The Ven Joanne Grenfell
  • The Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight: The Ven Peter Sutton

In turn, the archdeacons are supported by seven area deans, one from each Deanery.

Click for more information about governance within our diocese: Bishop’s Council and Diocesan Synod.

The administration of the diocese is undertaken by staff at the diocesan office in Portsmouth.