Diocese of Portsmouth

Highlights of Bishop Christopher's time as our bishop

We said farewell to Bishop Christopher in our cathedral on Saturday 24th April 2021. Now that he has retired, here's a chance to look back at some of the highlights of his time as our bishop.

February 2010: The new Bishop of Portsmouth is announced

We announced the appointment of the Rt Rev Christopher Foster as Bishop of Portsmouth with a press conference at the top of the Spinnaker Tower, a visit to St Matthew's School in Blackmoor, a short act of worship in our cathedral, and a visit to Newport Minster:

The new Bishop of Portsmouth is unveiled at the top of the Spinnaker Tower

September 2010: Bishop Christopher is installed

The new Bishop of Portsmouth was installed at a packed service in Portsmouth Cathedral. A small group of young people from across the diocese laid hands on him to pray for his ministry, and the bishop left the cathedral with those young people. A celebratory photo with the entire congregation in front of the cathedral was then organised.

Bishop Christopher is installed by the Archdeacon of Canterbury
Bishop Christopher and the young people who have prayed for him process out of the cathedral's west doors
The entire congregation poses outside the cathedral after the service

And here are video highlights of the installation service:

October 2011: Bishop Christopher's first visit to Ghana

The bishop made his first visit to the Anglican Church in Ghana that we are linked to, with his wife the Rev Sally Davenport, our then IDWAL chairman Canon Terry Louden and his wife Alison.

Bishop Christopher and the Rev Sally Davenport in Ghana

June 2012: Ordinations at our cathedral

Among many high-profile services were ordinations of new clergy, including this one in 2012. Former headteacher the Rev Alice Wood was ordained with many of her pupils watching closely.

Children and staff gather to watch their headteacher Alice Wood being ordained

May 2014: Invitation to schools

Bishop Christopher was often invited to lead collective worship in schools, and to open new classrooms. He often talked to children about some of the symbols of being a bishop and explained what each of them meant. In May 2014, he opened a new Garden of Peace at St John's C of E Primary School in Rowlands Castle.

The bishop opens the Garden of Peace at St John's C of E Primary School in Rowlands Castle

June 2014: 60th anniversary of D-Day

As bishop of an area steeped in military history and ongoing naval importance, there were many significant military occasions. Among them was the 70th anniversary of D-Day, which included a Drumhead Service on Southsea Common with HRH Princess Anne.

Bishop Christopher meets D-Day veterans at Christ Church, Portsdown
HRH Princess Anne talks to Bishop Christopher ahead of the Drumhead Service on Southsea Common

September 2016: New church created for students and young people

Bishop Christopher invited St Peter's Church in Brighton to plant a brand new church in the centre of Portsmouth, to appeal to students and young people. A small group moved to the city to start Harbour Church in a refurbished department store in Commercial Road. It launched in September 2016 and has now grown to become the largest church in Portsmouth.

The launch of Harbour Church in September 2016

January 2018: Bishop leads Holy Land pilgrimages

Bishop Christopher led a number of pilgrimages to the Holy Land, including some specifically for our curates, and some open to anyone from across the diocese. It was an eye-opening trip for all involved to see some of the places associated with Jesus's birth, ministry, death and resurrection.

Bishop Christopher with curates outside Jerusalem, January 2018

Here are the highlights from the pilgrimage Bishop Christopher led to the Holy Land in January 2018:

March 2019: Installation of the Dean

Bishop Christopher led the service at which the Very Rev Anthony Cane, was installed as the new Dean of Portsmouth.

Bishop Christopher installs the new Dean of Portsmouth

Here are video highlights of the service:

June 2019: Thy Kingdom Come at Portchester Castle

Bishop Christopher led the Big Prayer Picnic for churches of all denominations, in the grounds of Portchester Castle, as part of the global prayer initiative Thy Kingdom Come

Thousands gather for the Big Prayer Picnic
The event included worship and creative ways to pray

...and here are some video highlights of the day:

July 2019: Consecration of Joanne Grenfell

Bishop Christopher and his colleagues were involved in the consecration of our archdeacon Joanne Grenfell as a bishop, in St Paul's Cathedral. She is now the Bishop of Stepney in London Diocese.

Joanne Grenfell is consecrated as a bishop at St Paul's Cathedral

...and the video highlights of that service can be seen here:

April 2021: Bishop Christopher's farewell service

We said farewell to Bishop Christopher at a special Choral Evensong service in our cathedral. As well as music that had been significant to him during more than 40 years of ordained ministry, there was a specially-commissioned piece of music by US composer Nico Muhly, for the moment when he handed over his crozier. As it was laid on the altar and he processed to the west door with his family, he was no longer the Bishop of Portsmouth. Read our full report on his farewell service and the tributes paid here.

You can also read a selection of Bishop Christopher's sermons and speeches here.

Bishop Christopher hands his crozier to synod lay chair Debbie Sutton
Christopher, Sally, Richard, Miriam and Justine process towards the cathedral's west door