So many of us across the Diocese, the capital, and the wider Church, were deeply saddened to learn of the death of The Rt Revd Dr Karowei Dorgu, Bishop of Woolwich, earlier this week, following a long illness. Apart from the six and half years he spent as Bishop of Woolwich, he spent most of his ordained ministry (1995 – 2016) in the Stepney Episcopal Area of the Diocese of London.

Born in Nigeria, he trained as a GP before moving to the United Kingdom in 1987, where he studied theology at the London Bible College in Northwood. Bishop Karowei was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon in 1995 at St Paul’s Cathedral, and as a priest in 1996. Between 1995 and 1998, he served his curacy at St Mark’s Church, Islington, before joining St. John the Evangelist Church, Upper Holloway; initially as an assistant curate/associate vicar, Team Vicar from 2000 to 2012, and then as Vicar from 2012. He was installed in March 2016 as Prebendary of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

On his consecration as Bishop of Woolwich in 2016, he became the first Nigerian Bishop to be consecrated in the Church of England. Bishop Karowei was a role model and inspiration for all clergy, and particularly clergy of Global Majority Heritage. He actively campaigned on issues of justice and fairness, which he saw as one of the gospel imperatives of making the church representative of the diversity of God’s Kingdom among us. He believed that integration and inclusion in all structures of the church is a critical issue of church growth.

The Bishop of London, The Rt Hon Rt Revd Dame Sarah Mullally, said:

 “Bishop Karowei was the best of us; devoted in his ministry, dedicated to developing and elevating people, and wholly committed to serving Jesus. Numerous colleagues are blessed to have served and worshipped alongside him in the Diocese of London, and the wider Church, for so many years – he brought joy to so many, with his extraordinary empathy, kindness, grace and resolve. His family and loved ones remain in our prayers, and I pray that they will find the strength and comfort that our Lord Jesus provides.”

 The Ven. Preb. Tunde Roberts, Vicar at St. Olave’s North London and friend and colleague of Bishop Karowei, said:

“Even in this moment of deep sorrow, we give thanks to God for Karowei’s life, all that he achieved and the ways he served his Lord and Master. Bishop Karowei was a remarkable Christian minister who wore his Christian faith in his sleeves. His call to ministry was focused on Jesus and Jesus was so important to Karowei. He was a true soldier and ambassador of Christ, who according to 2nd Timothy Chapter 4 verse 5, worked hard and was never afraid at telling others the Good News and the reason for his faith in Jesus.

“Those who came in contact with Bishop Karowei will attest to his vibrancy and the amazing love he has for many. He was hospitable, generous, and made himself available to others at all times. On occasions, he played konga drums at services in his bishop’s attire. Karowei was also a devoted husband and father who loves his family dearly. His beloved wife Dr Mosun Dorgu was always by his side in thick and thin and was a real pillar of support to Karowei’s ministry. Let us continue to hold Karowei’s family in our prayers, especially his wife, sister Mosun, son Timi and his twin sister, Collette.”