"People will be my first priority"

by Michael Ford last modified 29 Jan, 2019 04:34 PM

The new Bishop of Ramsbury, the Rt Revd Dr Andrew Rumsey, has been ordained and consecrated at Southwark Cathedral by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and officially welcomed by Bishop Nicholas to the Diocese at a Service of Installation and Evensong at Salisbury Cathedral.

"People will be my first priority"

Bishop Andrew at Salisbury Cathedral. Photo by Ash Mills

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The Bishop of Ramsbury is an area title, giving the Bishop responsibility mainly for the Wiltshire parishes in the Diocese of Salisbury, which came back into use in the 1970s. Bishop Andrew will share in ministry and mission across the Diocese with the Bishop of Salisbury and the Bishop of Sherborne. One of his responsibilities will be to chair the new Mission and Ministry Council.

Bishop Andrew said:
“The Church of England’s claim to be ‘a Christian presence in every community’ is well-founded and I hope my role will be to encourage and extend this presence, which is a priceless legacy and so vital in our unsettled times. It will be a privilege to come to know you, as congregations and communities.

“People will be my first priority, as I travel the area, chair the new Mission and Ministry Council and work with Bishop Nicholas, Bishop Karen and Archdeacons Alan and Sue, to support the life and faith of the local church.

“God is in this place, and I look forward to us serving him together.”

The new Bishop was joined by his family, as well as clergy and laity from the Diocese at Southwark Cathedral, where the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, as part of the service; “You cannot bear the weight of this calling in your own strength, but only by the grace and power of God.”

Bishop Andrew and his family, his wife Rebecca and his three children Grace, Jonah and Tali, moved into their new home in Marlborough earlier this month. He has become the sixth current Suffragan Bishop to hold the ancient title that was first used in 909 AD.

The Bishop said:
“How good to be here. Having been duly ordained, installed and welcomed, I’m so glad to be embarking on ministry with you in the Diocese of Salisbury.

“The ancient see of Ramsbury reaches back to the year 909 and hallows a landscape with such a rich and mysterious spirituality. I have been pouring over maps of Wiltshire and marvelling at the variegated nature of our new home - and enjoying the poetry of its place-names!”

After his consecration at Southwark, the new Bishop who is the author of the highly acclaimed ‘Parish – An Anglican theology of place’, was installed into the College of Canons at Salisbury Cathedral on Saturday evening.

View photos here

Before the service, Bishop Andrew took the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen and of obedience to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the Bishop of Salisbury. He also made and signed the declaration to observe the Cathedral Statues.

In his installation sermon he said:
“What a gift we inherit in Salisbury Diocese: that the ancient heart of our communities is so often a Christian church: each one a little Bethel, an altar for our brittle lives, bearing the local promise that God is in this place - and that, however wayward we might be, he will prove to be the opposite.”

Read the sermon here

It was a busy weekend for the new Bishop as on Sunday, Bishop Andrew and his family joined around 80 people from the church and the local community of Ramsbury for a service of Holy Communion in Holy Cross Church.

Revd Canon Simon Weeden, Team Rector of the Whitton Team welcomed the new Bishop and led the service up to the Peace.

Bishop Andrew greeted parishioners at the porch, as they arrived, preached, presided and sat in the ‘Bishop’s Stall’ alongside the list of previous Bishops of Ramsbury, to which his name has been added.

The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam said:
“The life and work of a bishop is a serious calling, walking close to God with people on your heart and overseeing the Church in the Diocese of Salisbury. We are glad to welcome Andrew Rumsey as he comes among us as Bishop of Ramsbury.

“We hope that he, Rebecca and their children will quickly feel at home here and that Andrew will minister to the people of Wiltshire he has come to serve.”

The Bishop of Sherborne, Karen Gorham said:
“It is a joy to welcome Andrew and I look forward to working with him as we, led by Bishop Nicholas, continue to serve the communities and churches of Dorset and Wiltshire.”
The Bishop of Sherborne, all four diocesan Archdeacons, the High Sheriff of Wiltshire, Mrs Nicky Alberry DL, and the Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, Kier Pritchard, were also present.
Among those who attended the service at Salisbury Cathedral were Lieutenant-General Sir Roderick Cordy-Simpson, KBE, CB, DL, accompanied by Lady Cordy-Simpson, and Diocesan Secretary David Pain. Tobias McNicol, from Bishop Wordsworth’s School, welcomed the Bishop on behalf of young people. Cathedral clergy included Canon Treasurer Robert Titley, Canon Chancellor Ed Probert, and the Dean.

Bishop Andrew was Team Rector of St Mary, Oxted in Surrey. His appointment was announced by Downing Street in October last year.

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