The Diocese of Carlisle is situated in the north-west of England and almost entirely encompasses the geographically area of the county of Cumbria. The diocese takes in the beauty of the Lake District, the remote rural landscapes of the West Coast and the industrial heartland of Barrow-in-Furness in the south. There are a number of major towns with long and notable histories including Keswick, Workington, Kendal, Penrith and the county capital - the City of Carlisle.
The City of Carlisle, the last major city on the east coast before the border with Scotland, has changed hands between Scotland and England many times down the centuries. For this reason the city has been heavily fortified in the past and boasts the impressive Carlisle Castle and the remains of the city walls.
The diocesan headquarters, Church House, are situated by the West Walls along with Carlisle Cathedral. The cathedral is notable for the loss of its original nave, a victim of the conflicts between English and Scottish forces. One of the most spectacular features of the cathedral, and a major tourist attraction, is the ceiling of the Chancel (now the nave) displaying a starry host.
Carlisle Diocese is structured into three archdeaconries - Carlisle, West Cumberland, and Westmorland and Furness. The Windermere Deanery is the central of three deaneries in the Westmorland and Furness Archdeaconery, separating Furness Deanery to the west and Kendal Deanary to the east.
The current Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt. Revd. James Newcome, has been in post since 2009 having translated from the suffragen post of Bishop of Penrith. Bishop James was a very popular appointment as Bishop of Carlisle as he had established good links within the diocese as suffragen, and is both a visionary leader and accomplished preacher and teacher. In 2010, after a period of consultation with diocesan leaders and a review within the bishop's staff, a new Vision and Strategy was launched outlining a 10 year development plan. The vision for Carlisle diocese is focussed on Christian discipleship and is encapsulated in the vision statement 'to see our churches growing disciples of all ages'. The strategy for driving towards this vision is covered in the diocesan Growing Disciples Handbook.
Bishop James and his wife Alison have moved to Keswick from Kendal to take up residence in the new Bishop's quarters and office. The move brings the Bishop's office to a more central geographical location away from Rose Castle in the north of the diocese.
In 2011 the Ven. Robert Freeman, Archdeacon of Halifax in the diocese of Wakefield, was appointed as the new suffragen bishop, the Bishop of Penrith and now resides with his wife Chris in Kendal. Bishop Robert brings a wealth of experience and passion for evangelism to Carlisle diocese. He has been at one time a National Advisor for Evangelism to the Archbishops' Council, and has been a leading light in the Re:Jesus project and website, www.rejesus.co.uk.
The Ven. Penny Driver formerly Archdeacon of Exeter moved to become Archdeacon of Westmorland and Furness in January 2012. Penny, who is from the north of England, returns to the north bringing experience in the multi-faceted role of an archdeacon.