Bishop Mark to leave Shropshire for parish ministry
The Anglican Bishop of Shrewsbury is to leave the county to return to parish ministry in the south west.
The Right Reverend Mark Rylands has served as the Anglican Area Bishop of Shrewsbury for nine years.
He says that while it has been a huge privilege to serve the people of Shrewsbury and Telford the time is right to move with his wife, Mandy, to the south-west where they have previously lived, served and have family.
After a special farewell service in July, Bishop Rylands will take up his new role as priest-in-charge of the Ashburton and Moorland Team in Exeter Diocese, where he will also be an Assistant Bishop.
"Working in the Diocese of Lichfield has been an enriching experience. Many in this country are not sure where Lichfield, Telford or Shropshire is, we are slightly off the beaten track, slightly unknown. I have been blessed to work here," he said.
“It will be sad to leave. And for some it may seem a surprise move. 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. I have heard God calling me now to ‘go and walk the talk’. Now we prepare for the adventure ahead on Dartmoor.
“Mandy, my wife, has contributed hugely to the life of Lichfield Diocese. She has served in several posts over the last nine years, being willing to fill gaps and pick up ministry where needed. An ordained minister, she retired last year and is now looking forward to being nearer her 90-year-old father and other members of the family in the South West."
The Bishop's achievements have included encouraging the growth of the family-friendly Messy Churches, and helping set up Street Pastors in Telford and Shrewsbury.
A passionate cricketer and angler, he has been a regular fixture in Lichfield Diocese’s cricket team since 2010 and managed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Cricket XI since 2014.
Mandy, a prebendary emeritus of Exeter Cathedral, has served in a variety of roles in Lichfield Diocese including as Prestfelde School Chaplain, Salop Area Adviser for the Ministry of Women, Diocesan Adviser for Self-Supporting Ministry, Assistant Priest at St Chad’s Shrewsbury, Assistant Rural Dean for Shrewsbury Deanery, Interim Priest for the Severn Loop parishes and Interim Diocesan Director of Ordinands.
The Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Reverend Dr Michael Ipgrave, said: “I know that the whole Diocese of Lichfield will want to join with me in wishing Bishop Mark and Mandy well as they return to Devon; but I know too how much they will be missed."