Peter Forster

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The Right Reverend
Peter Forster
Bishop of Chester
Diocese Diocese of Chester
In office 1996–present
Predecessor Michael Baughen
Other posts Vicar of Beverley Minster (1992–1996)
Ordination 1980 (deacon); 1981 (priest)
by David Sheppard
Consecration 13 November 1996
by David Hope
Personal details
Born (1950-03-16) 16 March 1950 (age 67)
Solihull, West Midlands, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Denomination Anglican
Residence Bishop's House, Chester
Parents Thomas Forster & Edna Russell
Spouse Elisabeth Anne Stevenson (m. 1978)
Children four
Alma mater

Peter Robert Forster (born 16 March 1950) is a British Anglican bishop and a Lord Spiritual (member of the House of Lords). He is currently the Bishop of Chester in the Church of England.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Solihull, the son of Thomas Forster by his marriage to Edna Russell, Forster was educated at the town's Tudor Grange Grammar School. He stated in the House of Lords on 8 February 2016 that he had spent his gap year making Land Rover Defenders and was auto-enrolled into the TGWU.[1] He studied at Merton College, Oxford, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in chemistry, promoted to Oxford Master of Arts (MA Oxon) in 1973. At Edinburgh University, he graduated as a Bachelor of Divinity (BD) in theology in 1977 and as a Doctor of Philosophy in 1985.

Ordained ministry[edit]

He was ordained a deacon at Petertide 1980 (on 29 June)[2] and a priest the next Petertide (12 July 1981), both times by David Sheppard, Bishop of Liverpool, at Liverpool Cathedral.[3] From 1980 to 1982, Forster was assistant curate of the Mossley Hill Parish Church in Liverpool. He was senior tutor at St John's College, Durham, from 1983 to 1991 and became the vicar of Beverley Minster in 1992. In 1996, he was appointed the 40th Bishop of Chester. Forster was consecrated a bishop (alongside John Packer, Bishop of Warrington and later Bishop of Ripon and Leeds) during a service at York Minster,[4] by David Hope, Archbishop of York, on 13 November 1996.[5] He was enthroned on 11 January 1997 and in 2001 took his seat as a Lord Spiritual in the House of Lords.[6]

In 2003, Forster raised controversy when he was investigated by the police for an alleged "hate speech" after suggesting that homosexual people should seek psychiatric treatment.[7] However, no charges were made, and the police were satisfied that no offence had been committed.[8]

He was one of nine bishops who signed a letter disagreeing with the decision of Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, not to block the appointment of Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading in 2013.[9]

In 2009 Forster became a trustee of the newly formed Global Warming Policy Foundation, a controversial organisation based in the United Kingdom which questions policy measures envisaged by governments to mitigate global warming.[10]

In 2012, amid controversy over the amount of expenses claimed by bishops for attending the House of Lords, it was revealed that Forster had claimed more than any other bishop in 2010/11. He had claimed £34,909 and had attended on 97 days.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Forster married Elisabeth Anne Stevenson in 1978, and they have four children. His brother-in-law, Kenneth Stevenson, was also a bishop.[12]



  1. ^ (2016-02-08). "Report from the House of Lords Debate on the Trade Union Bill". 
  2. ^ "Petertide ordinations (Archived; subscription only)". Church Times (#6125). 4 July 1980. p. 5. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 6 May 2017. (Subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ "Petertide ordinations (Archived; subscription only)". Church Times (#6177). 3 July 1981. p. 16. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 6 May 2017. (Subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ "From brown envelope to purple shirt (Archived; subscription only)". Church Times (#6980). 22 November 1996. p. 13. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 14 April 2015. (Subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ Diocese of Chester — Bishops (Accessed 6 May 2017)
  6. ^ House of Lords (2001-11-14). "Announcement of his introduction at the House of Lords". minutes of proceedings. Retrieved 2006-11-20. 
  7. ^ Alleyne, Richard (10 Nov 2003). "Bishop's anti-gay comments spark legal investigation". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  8. ^ "No charges for bishop in gay row". BBC News. 2003-11-09. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  9. ^ Michael Nazir-Ali (1 May 2008). "Extremism flourished as UK lost Christianity". Frost's Meditations. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2016. 
  10. ^ "Board of Trustees". Retrieved 2009-11-24. 
  11. ^ "Bishop of Chester claims most expenses". Leader Live. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2016. 
  12. ^ Forster, Peter Robert. Who's Who. 2017 (November 2016 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 10 June 2017. 
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Michael Baughen
Bishop of Chester