Bishop Lowe has a natural affinity for rural communities

After an earlier career in the forestry, industry the recently appointed Bishop of Hamilton, Stephen Lowe, seems a natural choice to lead this largely rural diocese.

The Hamilton diocese covers the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, East Cape and King Country.

“I have a love for the rural areas, both the people and the countryside,” Lowe told Waikato Times reporter Chris Gardner.

“It’s harder to be a Christian in a rural area.”

“Everyone in the community knows everyone else’s business and it makes it more of a challenge to go along to church on a Sunday.”

Gardner says, “Lowe comes across as a gentle, warm, man, who is not big on pomp and ceremony.”

“People call him Bishop Steve, or just Steve.”

“If I am not a good man as Steve, I am not going to be a good man as Bishop Steve,” Lowe says.

“I remember when I was ordained a priest I was walking down the aisle thinking ‘Lord, I don’t believe it, I am a priest’.

I was walking down the aisle in Hamilton thinking ‘Lord, I am a bishop. How did that happen?'”

Lowe says he feel as if he has been hit by a “tsunami of names and faces.”

There are 35 parishes in the Hamilton diocese.

By the end of the year he hopes to have visited each one of them.

He says he has a really good relationship with Anglican Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley but he hasn’t, yet, met other denominational church leaders.

And while he continues to “meet and greet” the people and to hear what everybody is thinking, the Bishop already has a number of concerns that he wishes to address:

  • To be able to speak Te Reo Maori, but he says it is quite a challenge.
  • To look into Maori spirituality, which he tinks has a lot to offer.
  • To help the huge amount of people in need.
  • To continue to provide ministry to the rural areas.


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News category: New Zealand.

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