Born in Solihull, the son of Thomas and Edna (née Russell) Forster was educated at the town's Tudor Grange Grammar School for Boys, and Merton College, Oxford, where he received a Master of Arts in chemistry in 1973. At Edinburgh University, Forster graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity in theology in 1977 and became a Doctor of Philosophy in 1985.
From 1980 to 1982, Forster was assistant curate of the Mossley Hill Parish Church in Liverpool. He was senior tutor at St John's College, Durham between 1983 and 1991, and became vicar of Beverley Minster in the following year. In 1996, he was appointed 40th Bishop of Chester and became a member of the House of Lords in 2001.
Forster is a moral conservative, employing the full time lobbyist for the moralist Christian organisations CARE in his office in the House of Lords. Dr Daniel Boucher remains 'Director of Parliamentary Affairs', Christian Action Research and Education.
He was one of the 'rebel' bishops who signed a letter against Rowan Williams' appointment of the Reverend Dr Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading in 2003. The others were the Bishops of Bradford, Carlisle, Chichester, Exeter, Liverpool, Rochester, Southwell and Winchester.
- House of Lords Announcement of his introduction at the House of Lords 2001-11-14| minutes of proceedings| accessed 17 September 2010
- House of Lords Register of Interests of Lords Members' Staff (As at 7th September 2010) Section 1: List of Staff From Abercorn to Goodfellow Session 2010-11Publications on the internet
- No charges for bishop in gay row. 2003-11-09.
- GWPF Board of Trustees, accessed 17 September 2010