Funeral of Bishop Geoffrey Rowell and Tributes

Posted on the 16th Jun 2017 in the category Announcements


Bishop Geoffrey's funeral will take place in Chichester Cathedral on Wednesday 5 July at 2.30pm.  The liturgical arragments can be found here.


Bishop Tony Robinson, Chairman of the Council of Bishops said:

Bishop Geoffrey has been at the heart of the catholic voice within the Church of England for several decades but is also very well known and respected throughout Europe by many from other churches for his scholarship and commitment to ecumenical dialogue. Following a distinguished period as Fellow and Chaplain at Keble College, Oxford, Bishop Geoffrey has been a bishop since 1994, serving first at Basingstoke in the Diocese of Winchester and then as Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe since 2001. We shall miss his wisdom, experience and gentle guidance amongst the Bishops of The Society. 


Other Bishops of Society also paid tribute to Bishop Geoffrey.  Bishop Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester said:

Geoffrey's long association with the Diocese of Chichester has been characterised by the generosity with which he shared his gifts of holiness, learning, and personal friendship. We shall miss his presence, his imaginative understanding of the past and of traditions that enrich our own, his humour, his hospitality, and his encouragement of younger scholars, lay and ordained, and the enthusiasm with which he helped them identify the value of their hopes and plans.

Geoffrey died as he had lived: in the rhythm of liturgical prayer, and fortified by the sacramental life that is the mark of a Catholic Christian.

Giving thanks for Geoffrey, we now pray that God will grant him “a holy rest, safe lodging, and peace at the last”. And in the resurrection may he enjoy the vision glorious that his longing eyes had so clearly glimpsed on earth.


Bishop Jonathan Goodall, Bishop of Ebbsfleet said:

It is with profound sorrow, but with a deep sense of gratitude, that I write to ask all the parishes in the Ebbsfleet family to pray for the repose of the soul of Bishop Geoffrey Rowell, who died peacefully (if suddenly) after a long illness, last Sunday morning, Trinity Sunday, 11 June.

We here in the Ebbsfleet office have many reasons to thank God for Geoffrey, as a friend as well as a bishop.   It was my joy as his chaplain to welcome and induct Geoffrey to his new role as Anglican Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe in 2001, and we worked together closely until, in 2005, I left to join Archbishop Rowan at Lambeth;  and for much of that period, Catherine, now my PA, was Geoffrey’s PA.  In the midst of a lot of hard work and travel, there was a great deal of laughter at the more absurd aspects of ministry across ‘a sixth of the world’s land surface’.  Thereafter Geoffrey and I worked together of course in many ways, taking every opportunity we could, to promote between the churches a patient and ever-deepening sense of communion.

All of Geoffrey’s best qualities were committed in the Lord’s service:  holiness, learning as much as teaching, a talent for culture as well as for friendship, long-sightedness and long-suffering, generosity in all things.  Although he was an unmistakeably catholic Christian, living in and from – and fascinated by! – the heritage of the whole Church, his best energy was given, of course, to nurturing and guiding Anglo-Catholic witness, through which God had given him so very much.  He longed and prayed deeply for The Society to renew that witness in and beyond the Church of England.   He will be very sorely missed;  but may his memory be eternal!


Bishop Philip North Bishop of Burnley tweeted

Really sad to hear of +Geoffrey Rowell's death. A great academic and a guardian of the best in Anglican tradition. He will be much missed.