Former Bishop of Dudley dies
The Rt Revd Tony Dumper, Bishop of Dudley for over 15 years, has died at the age of 88. He passed away at his home in Bristol on Monday 27 August.
Bishop Tony was ordained Deacon in 1947 and served his curacy in Blackheath, London. He then moved to become a Vicar in Malaysia and was Archdeacon of South East Asia and Dean of St. Andrew's Cathedral in Singapore before returning to the UK to become Vicar of the Parish of St. Peter in Stockton-on-Tees in 1970.
He was consecrated as Bishop of Dudley in 1977 and served there until he retired in 1993. In recent years Bishop Tony was an Honorary Assistant Bishop in Birmingham Diocese before moving to live in Bristol.
Bishop Tony was only the second person to be appointed to the post of Bishop of Dudley. He was regarded as an inspirational bishop who had the courage to stick to his principals on issues which sometimes made him unpopular. He cared deeply about disadvantaged people and campaigned on issues of poverty, racial justice and nuclear disarmament.
Alongside his regular duties, Bishop Tony was Chair of the Dudley Race Equality Council and helped set up the Church Housing Association of Dudley and District.
The current Bishop of Dudley, David Walker, said:
"It was Tony Dumper who really gave shape to the role of Bishop of Dudley. Many of the organisations that he founded in the borough still thrive and serve the community today. They form a very visible legacy to a town that took him dearly to its heart and still holds him very fondly."
Throughout Tony's ministry he was until her death in 2001 supported by his wife Sybille. Together they had three children.
Image: Rt Revd Bishop Tony Dumper, pictured in 1986 (source: www.dudleynews.co.uk).
The Rt Revd Anthony Charles Dumper (4/10/23 - 27/08/12)
Bishop Tony was born in Surbiton on 4 October 1923 into a loving, happy and secure family. He was very close to his mother and was inspired by both his grandfathers - one of whom gave away buns to children begging at his baker's shop during times of hardship and the other who was the first Labour Councillor for Surbiton Council.
After doing outstandingly well in his School Certificate, Bishop Tony read History at Christ's College, Cambridge. This opened up a new world for him, socially, intellectually and culturally. He became a Conscientious Objector during the war, spending time working on farms before returning to Cambridge due to ill health.
While training for ordination at Westcott House, Bishop Tony joined the Salvation Army relief team working in post-war Germany. Soon after he arrived, he met his wife Sybille in Wuppertal who stood in for his normal interpreter. They were married in 1947, which was the start of a formidable and committed partnership which lasted until Sybille's sudden death in 2001.
Bishop Tony was ordained in 1947 and served his curacy in Blackheath, London. In December 1949, both he and his wife wanted to experience more of the world and so accepted a position as Vicar of St. John's Church in Ipoh, Malaysia. This was a time of communist insurgency in the area and visits to remote plantations often had to be made with an armed guard. While there he was advised to wear his cassock when out and about so that he was not mistaken for a colonial official or rubber planter! Bishop Tony helped take the parish from a mainly expatriate congregation to one that was predominately local and of his time in his first parish, he wrote: "If I made any important contribution to the Church in South Perak, it would be in holding before the parish the vision of a Church open equally to all the people in the land."
Bishop Tony remained in Asia until 1970 becoming vicar of St. George's in Penang and Archdeacon of South East Asia and then Dean of St. Andrew's Cathedral in Singapore. In these roles one of his main challenges of his ministry was to develop a supportive but independent relationship with the newly independent states of Malaysia and Singapore. He then returned to the UK to become Vicar of St. Peter's Church in Stockton-on-Tees, Teeside where he was very active in Industrial Mission.
In 1977, Tony was consecrated as the Bishop of Dudley where he served until his retirement in 1993. He was only the second person to be appointed to the post and with his predecessor serving only a short time it was Bishop Tony who really created and shaped it. He was regarded as an inspirational bishop who had the courage to stick to his principals on issues which sometimes made him unpopular. He cared deeply about disadvantaged people and campaigned on issues of poverty, racial justice and nuclear disarmament. Social evenings at the Bishop's House are fondly remembered - he and Sybille would invite a number of parish clergy to dinner and would bring in a specially invited guest, such as a local councillor, often stimulating animated discussion! For a considerable time he also served as Archdeacon of Dudley as well as Bishop, but rather than issues relating to church buildings and clergy houses, his concern was very much with his clergy, with whom he maintained close contact and was very considerate for any who were experiencing difficulties
Alongside his regular duties, Bishop Tony was chair of the Dudley Race Equality Council, helped set up the Church Housing Association of Dudley and District and was on the management board for the United College of Ascension, a joint USPG/ Methodist Missionary College in Birmingham. He was also Chair of the Anglican Pacifist Movement. As a pacifist and an active member of CND, in 1980, Bishop Tony was invited to be a member of the Alternative Defence Commission, supported by the Lansbury House Trust Fund, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Barrow and Geraldine S. Charitable Trust and was a co-author of its final report Defence without the Bomb (London: Taylor and Francis, 1983).
Bishop Tony always loved travelling and planning journeys and during his retirement he travelled around the world. He also enjoyed walking holidays, both in the UK and abroad.
Bishop Tony retired to Bournville in Birmingham where he remained active, taking confirmations, visiting colleagues and continuing to campaign until around three years ago, when his growing dementia necessitated a move to Bristol to be nearer to his daughter. He will be remembered as a committed, passionate, extremely kind man who was completely dedicated to the work of God's Kingdom. Bishop Tony leaves behind three children and four grandchildren.
Bishop Tony died on Monday 27 August. He will be cremated in Bristol on Friday 7 September and a memorial service will be held in Worcester Cathedral at a later date.