Anglican Bishop of Bendigo Andrew Curnow lays up his pastoral staff

The longest serving Anglican diocesan bishop in Australia has laid up his pastoral staff and concluded his time in office.

Bishop Andrew Curnow AM was farewelled from the role of Anglican Bishop of Bendigo on Saturday, with a service at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The long-serving bishop announced his plans to retire in April after more than 14 years in the role.

He has been the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Bendigo since June 2003, and during his last address said it had been a remarkable journey.

“I will miss the Diocese of Bendigo a great deal,” he said.

“Although Jan and I are retiring in the diocese, it will be different no longer being bishop and we will miss the parishes, the visits, the people, the places, the communities and what, as most of you are aware, I regard as an absolutely God given piece of this universe.”

Bishop Curnow was born in Bendigo and ordained in the same church he retired from – St Paul’s Cathedral, or St Paul’s Church as it was known in 1973 Bendigo.

“It was at the height of summer – the exact opposite of today,” he said on Saturday, three metres from where his journey began in the ordained life, as rain clouds rolled over Bendigo.

He was 22 years old and recalled the candles bending over in the 102-degrees-Fahrenheit heat, just as the bishop laid his hands on his head.

Bishop Curnow met his wife, Jan, at his first parish to serve in, the now parish of Rochester-Lockington, and said it was a “whirlwind romance”.

He served in Malvern in the Diocese of Melbourne from 1989 before being consecrated a bishop in 1994. From 2001, he was the Bishop of the Northern Region along with Registrar, before returning to Bendigo in June 2003.

During his final address on Saturday, Bishop Curnow said he had tried to be a generous bishop who tried to be inclusive.

“A bishop that does try to see what we enjoy being in church,” he said. “It can be fun, it can be positive.”

Bishop Curnow was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in late 2012 for his significant service to the Anglican Church of Australia through leadership roles.

The couple has no current plans for retirement, but are looking forward to having more time to spend with their family.