Bishop Brian has been Bishop of Tonbridge since 2002. He works with the Bishop of Rochester, sharing his Episcopal oversight of the Diocese of Rochester. While involved with the life and mission of the Diocese as a whole, he has particular responsibility for ministry and training, including the vocation and appointment of curates.
He supports chaplains in their work and chairs the Overseas' Links Group and the Poverty and Hope Appeal. Community involvement is a priority for his ministry and he sits on a Local Strategic Partnership. He is co-chair (with the local Catholic Bishop) of the ecumenical body Churches Together in Kent. In the wider Church, he represents the region on the Urban Bishops’ Panel, he is Archbishops’ Adviser on Alternative Spiritualities and New Religious Movements, co-chair of the Mission Theology Advisory Group and a member of the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission.
He was born and educated in London, graduating from University College London with a degree in Classics. He was organist at St Matthew’s Church, Brixton, and was deeply affected by the vibrant, multicultural setting of this church. It was here that he felt called to the ordained ministry.
After two years spent as a Social Worker in London and teaching in Lesotho, Southern Africa, he trained for the ministry at Cuddesdon College and at the Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches in Geneva (where he met Jane, who was to become his wife). He graduated from Oxford University and was ordained in 1977. Brian was curate at St Nicholas, Sutton, and at Limpsfield in the Diocese of Southwark before serving as a parish priest in Chingola in the Diocese of Northern Zambia from 1981 to 1984. He moved from there to be a lecturer at Bossey, the Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches, in Geneva and then, in 1985, he was appointed Vicar of North Petherton with Northmoor Green in the Diocese of Bath and Wells. During his time in Somerset, Brian completed a doctorate (from the University of Birmingham) on the importance of hymns as a means of communicating Christian faith and their potential for enabling people to join in debates about faith.
Before moving to the Diocese of Rochester, Brian was Vice Principal at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford, where he specialised in the fields of mission and ministry and was a member of the Theology Faculty of Oxford University. He has taught and lectured on these topics in a number of countries. He has a lively interest in liturgy and worship, and is concerned that the Church works hard at communicating with those not drawn to Church or Faith. At the same time, he wants the Church to have more confidence and more fun in its task of pointing to God the Father, being led by Jesus Christ and being surprised by the Spirit.
Bishop Brian has written articles for theological journals, church and national newspapers and has published four books. He is currently working on the topic of reconciliation, a central theme in the Christian faith, drawing on experiences from Palestine to South Africa to the UK.
Brian is married to Jane, who works as a personal assistant and is a volunteer guide dog puppy walker. They have three adult children. Brian lists his hobbies as fly-fishing, cross-country skiing and photography.
Further details of Bishop Brian's current writing can be found on www.briancastle.org
He can be followed on twitter @drbriancastle