The Revd Ian Forrester writes:
THE Rt Revd Christopher Luxmoore, who died on 24 February, aged
87, was born in Boroughbridge Vicarage, Yorkshire, into a family
well used to providing clergy for the Church of England. Sent at
the age of seven to a boarding school in Ripon, he moved on to
He joined the army at 18, and trained as an officer at
Sandhurst. Commissioned into the Green Howards Regiment, in which
he served from 1944 to 1947, he was sent to India to be
aide-de-camp to General Rankin in Calcutta, and was there for the
partition of India in 1947, and for the Calcutta riots.
While there, he joined an expedition into Tibet, crossing the
Himalayas on a mule while on a delegation to the Abbot of
After the army, he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, before
training for ordination at Chichester Theological College, under
the Principal at that time, John Moorman.
Christopher was made deacon in 1952 and ordained priest in 1953,
serving his title under Ian Pettitt at St John's, Newcastle. He
married Judith in 1955, and became the Vicar of St Bede's, Newsham,
near Blyth. While there, he organised the building of a new
In 1958, Christopher and Judith moved to Trinidad, where
Christopher continued his tradition of building in providing a new
church in Salibia. He and Judith also continued to build their
They returned to Great Britain in 1967, when Christopher was
appointed incumbent of Headingley, near Leeds. By the time he left
there, in 1981, he had built a new middle school in the parish.
Generations of former Chichester ordinands retained a great
affection for the city's cathedral. Christopher was, therefore,
delighted to answer the call of Bishop Eric Kemp, in 1981, to be
He contributed to the cathedral's work in many ways, but will
long be remembered for exercising a warm and committed ministry to
the congregation. He was, first and foremost, a parish priest at
heart - a theme that continued throughout his life, although the
Luxmoore family were highly valued for allthat they brought to bear
on thelife of the cathedral community. Christopher loved the
people, and did much pastoral work among them: visiting, taking the
sacrament to the sick, and hearing the confessions of many.
Christopher was a very definite Anglo-Catholic. He was also very
Church of England. He had a solid prayer life, was a daily
communicant, and was punctilious in his preparation for
When he preached, his style was rather didactic. It was the
faith of the Church which he was proclaiming, with confidence and
fluency. Such confidence in the faith is sometimes looked upon with
suspicion by those who perhaps desire more elbow-room, but, because
Christopher was warm, friendly, and approachable, he promoted his
faith by being seen to live as well as preach it.
When his appointment as Bishop of Bermuda was announced in 1984,
there were feelings both of sadness that the cathedral was losing
Christopher's ministry, and also of gladness that his pastoral
skills were to be exercised on a larger canvas. His consecration
took place in Chichester Cathedral. As far as is known, it was the
first episcopal consecration there.
Although not large, the diocese of Bermuda brought its own
challenges and joys, and the provision of a new building for the
cathedral office was a great achievement. The diocese was
represented at Christopher's funeral requiem in Chichester
His ministry was not, of course, all that mattered to him. He
and Judith had five children: Nicholas, Jonathan, Paul, Benedict,
and Ruth. Whenever he was asked about his children, Christopher
would glow with pride as he described their progress. His family,
including eventually 17 grandchildren, brought him great joy and
Again, at Bishop Kemp's invitation, the Luxmoores returned to
Sussex in 1989, and Christopher served for a little while as
Archdeacon of Lewes and Hastings. He was also appointed Provost of
Lancing, with responsibility for appointing the chaplains of the
Southern Division of the Woodard schools, among whom he quickly
became known as a good, holy, and supportive shepherd.
In Christopher, children saw and experienced an authentic
pastor. When he spoke, they listened; when he conducted worship,
they engaged; and when he confirmed, they were excited with
holiness. One pupil once remarked that she liked his smile: "It
goes all the way up to his eyes," she said.
Christopher and Judith lived in Chichester, and in his
retirement Christopher continued to serve as an Assistant Bishop in
A great liturgical performer, he was often in demand to bless
this or dedicate that, and to lend his name to this or that cause.
It was a sadness that his health began to decline. Always a
realist, Christopher was courageous enough to say that he was going
to cease public ministry because he no longer felt "quite on the
ball". But, even as he declined, his demeanour and practice of the
faith still proclaimed the word and works of God.
After he suffered a stroke, even the valiant Judith knew that
his needs were now more than she could physically manage, and he
went to live in Augusta Court.
In the closing months of his life, Christopher might have been
thought to be "out of it". But he had not lost his awareness. He
opened his mouth and presented his tongue to receive the Bread of
Life, the food for the journey. When absolved or blessed, he would
move his right arm to try to make the sign by which death has been
And, then, Christopher was called from Chichester for the third
time by his Lord. In the previous days, all of his children had
been with him to bid him a safe journey, and Judith, faithful as
ever, was with him to the end of this life.