The news of Bishop Geoffrey Rowell’s death is a source of sadness and sorrow to many, including me personally. I first met Geoffrey in 2005, when I joined the Diocese in Europe. I experienced him as unfailingly kind, warm and hospitable. He stayed at our home in Belgium on a number of occasions. I recall with affection long conversations over a bottle of whisky late into the night. When I was appointed his successor, he was wonderfully encouraging and helpful. Geoffrey valued highly his friendship with his clergy, and those of us who served as his priests and deacons will miss him dearly.
For 12 years as Diocesan Bishop, Geoffrey embodied the Diocese in Europe in his own character and personality. He managed to remain a serious academic whilst also carrying out a demanding pastoral ministry. He was a great ambassador for a traditional, catholic, Anglicanism. He maintained an enviable quantity and quality of correspondence with ecumenical partners and friends. He travelled with remarkable energy and stamina. He inspired loyal devotion in those who worked most closely with him.
Many of us wondered how he would cope with the transition to retirement, but he seemed to handle it marvellously. His home in Fishbourne was beautifully furnished and served as a workshop for his continuing academic projects. It is sad that, after a demanding European ministry, he did not have long to enjoy retirement. His passing feels as if it marks the end of an era. We commend him to his Lord, praying that he will rest in peace and at the last day rise in glory.
4th Bishop in Europe