Magical Bishop tackles bats and gunmen

PeterFox2007: Former Bishop of Papua New Guinea, Rt Rev Peter Fox, was the main speaker at the Norwich FGBMFI chapter lunch at the Maid’s Head Hotel in the city on Thursday February 15, from 1-2pm.
Wrestling giant bats and being held at gunpoint were all in a day's work for the bishop who plays the banjo and is a fully paid-up member of the magic circle.

And after four years in the wilderness of Papua New Guinea, the Rt Rev Peter Fox took up a post at Interim Vicar of Lakenham and Tuckswood in Norwich last year.

The 53 year-old moved from his position as Anglican Bishop of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea where he served for four years.

Bishop Peter, who first moved to Norfolk when he was seven years old, has previously been curate of Wymondham and a group of parishes near Fakenham and has two sons living in Norfolk
"Bishops are supposed to play classical music on an organ," said Peter. "I listen to country music, play the banjo and am a member of the magic circle."

But Papua New Guinea is not a usual parish: "When you visit some villages, by way of welcome they send out a man with a spear or an axe or something, and he will literally run at you as if he is going to attack you. Then he will swing it around you, as if he's going kill you at any moment.

"Once he has terrified you enough, he'll stop and they'll all break into peals of laughter and start dancing. It's supposed to test your courage and show that you are worthy to enter their village."
It can be a dangerous country, too, as Bishop Peter and his family found out in 2002 when they were held at gunpoint as a man tried to steal their car.

But he is unfazed by minor glitches. He said: "That sort of thing happens a lot. I mean it was fine, none of us were hurt, it was just that he had a gun."
At the lunch, Bishop Peter talked about his work and his faith as part of the regular series of Norwich FGBMFI monthly events held at the Maid’s Head Hotel on Tombland in the centre of Norwich.
The lunches are aimed largely at people who work in the city and are designed to fit in a standard lunch hour with a half-hour meal followed by a 30-minute talk.
The cost to attend the lunch is £6 and all are welcome. To reserve your place contact Robert Ross on 01603 631050 or e-mail     or
Pictured above is Bishop Peter Fox.

Published: 01/02/2007