Howard West Kilvinton Mowll

1890-1958. Archbishop of Sydney. After graduation from Cambridge (1912) and ordination by Bishop E.A. Knox, he became a tutor at Wycliffe College, Toronto, where he taught, apart from one year as an army chaplain in France, until 1922. In that year he was consecrated as an assistant bishop for the diocese of West China, and succeeded William Cassels* as diocesan four years later. His ten years in China were full of travel, adventure, excitement, and development. He was captured and held by brigands; he was attacked and wounded by river pirates. His great contribution to West China was that he saw the need for a strong Chinese Church, and he planned accordingly. He was the bridge from the paternal rule of Bishop Cassels to the progressive aims of Chinese bishops, and he transferred the real control from the missionary conference to the diocesan synod. He went as far as the times would permit; but he looked still further ahead and planned for a division of the diocese so that Chinese bishops might be diocesans in their own right.

In 1933 Mowll was elected archbishop of Sydney, and enthroned in the cathedral in 1934. He entered at once upon a life of such unremitting activity that it left his clergy breathless. He proved himself a great administrator, with a flair for imaginative leadership and organization. The war years brought out all his latent strength in directing church enterprise to the spiritual, moral, and social welfare of men in uniform. He was never afraid to accept and shoulder responsibility, and his aptitude for leadership grew with experience. In 1947 he was elected primate of the Church of England in Australia, and this broadened his whole field of action. Always inspired by fresh thought and distant vision, his creative ministry brought a tremendous stimulus to all kinds of work both in Sydney and in Australia as a whole. He was a convinced and devoted evangelical in faith and churchmanship, but his remarkable gift for friendship enabled him to establish cordial relations with all kinds of people. His death marked the close of the greatest episcopate the Sydney diocese has ever seen.