Two bishops announce they are standing down

TWO BISHOPS announced this week that they are standing down from their roles.

The Bishop of Christchurch in New Zealand, Victoria Matthews, and the Bishop of Shrewsbury in the Diocese of Lichfield, Mark Rylands, said they were standing down to pursue new callings.

For Bishop Rylands, that means a return to parish ministry as he becomes Priest-in-Charge of the Ashburton and Moorland Team in Exeter Diocese, and will also serve as an honorary assistant bishop in the diocese.

He said: “I have sensed God’s beckoning to serve as a parish priest again. For the last 16 years, as both diocesan missioner and area bishop, much of my ministry has been to encourage, challenge and help churches and church leaders to embody and share the Good News of Jesus Christ in the local community. I have heard God calling me now to ‘go and walk the talk’.”

In New Zealand Bishop Victoria Matthews – one of the first women to be consecrated in the Anglican Communion – said she was responding to the calling of God.

“I’m not retiring and I’m not in ill health, I am merely following where my Saviour is leading me, wherever that may be,” she said.

Bishop Matthews became the Bishop of Toronto in 1994 before becoming Bishop of Edmonton (also in Canada) in 1997, where she served for a decade.

She has been Bishop of Christchurch since 2008.

“I have discerned in my prayers that I am called by God in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, to lay down this particular position of leadership,” Bishop Victoria said.

“This beautiful Diocese has been through many challenges brought about by earthquakes, wind, fire and floods,” she said. “But through it all, people have been their best selves by helping others, working together and finding new ways of doing things.”