Thinking Anglicans

Diocese of Argyll & The Isles elects new Bishop

The Rev David Railton was yesterday elected to be the next Bishop of Argyll and the Isles in the Scottish Episcopal Church. Details are in a press release, copied below.

Diocese of Argyll & The Isles elects new Bishop
May 21, 2024

A new Bishop has been chosen in the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles, with the Rev David Railton elected to the position that has been vacant since the death of Bishop Keith Riglin in September 2023.

Mr Railton accepted the post following a vote of the Electoral Synod, held today in Oban. He becomes Bishop-Elect, and a Consecration is expected be arranged during the next three months.

The current Rector of the linked charges of Holy Trinity in Dunoon and St Paul’s in Rothesay becomes the second consecutive Rector from those charges to become a Bishop, following the election of Bishop Andrew Swift in Brechin in 2018.

The Bishop-Elect said: “Having been in the Diocese for five years I know the people here and it’s a huge privilege to be elected by them. I am delighted but it’s humbling too, and a little daunting.

“It’s tough to be leaving people I know and love in my linked charges but I am consoled by the fact that I will be ‘just up the road’, and I will still be looking after them as their Bishop. I’m moving on, but not moving away.

“This election has come from sad circumstances following the death of Bishop Keith. There is still grieving, but as well as looking back, we are also able to look forward now.”

The Primus, Bishop Mark Strange, who convened the electoral process, said: “I am delighted to welcome David to the College of Bishops, and we pray for him and the diocese as we make this exciting journey together.

“We pray also for the congregations of Holy Trinity and St Paul’s, who again will have to look for a new Rector as another leaves them to become a Bishop, and we pray for the other candidates who offered themselves for discernment.

“I would also like to thank all others who took part in the process – the members of the Diocesan Standing Committee, the Preparatory Committee and the Electoral Synod – for their dedication and commitment which enabled us to elect a new Bishop today.”

Mr Railton was ordained in 2008 in the Diocese of Derby following a career as a pharmacist in both hospital and retail. During his time in Derbyshire, he was the Vicar of three churches and Ordained Chaplain to the Bishop of Derby, before moving to Darlington in the Diocese of Durham in 2015, where he was Vicar of three churches and Area Dean of Darlington.

In April 2019, he moved to Dunoon to become the Rector of the linked charge of Holy Trinity Dunoon and St Paul’s Rothesay.

He is a keen hiker and Munro-bagger, and has climbed 186 of the 282 mountain peaks in Scotland over 3,000 feet in height. He also enjoys cooking and bread making, and has recently taken up stand-up paddle boarding (also known as SUPing) although he admits he spends more time falling off than standing up at this stage.

The Bishop-Elect is married to Sarah, who works for NHS Highlands and Islands, and they have two grown-up children – a daughter Alice, married to Martin, and a son Sam, all of whom live in London.

He added: “I’d like to thank my wife for her support during this process, and also individuals from my two charges who were involved at the nomination stage. I give thanks for their prayerful support.”

Meanwhile, the Rt Rev Kevin Pearson, Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway, has given formal notice of his resignation to the Primus, following his announcement earlier this year that he will retire on 31 August this year.

A mandate to inaugurate the Electoral Process is expected to be issued within 21 days of the Diocese becoming vacant.

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Susannah Clark
21 days ago

I wish David and his family every blessing, as he settles into his new role. I don’t know him personally, though I’ve lived several years in mid-Argyll and have family there. And I automatically approve of someone who’s climbed 186 munros (that’s 10 more than me). “I will lift up my eyes to the hills…”

Sarah R
Sarah R
Reply to  Susannah Clark
21 days ago

Hi Susannah, I’m David’s wife, Sarah. Thank you so much for this and thanks for the ‘Munro approval’. I’ve climbed those 186 mountains besides him, sometimes ahead of him but not very often :-). Congratulations on your total too; 176 is very impressive.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Sarah R
20 days ago

Thanks Sarah. I used to live in the beautiful village of Kilmartin, where my aunt still lives. The whole diocese is such beautiful country, and the people who work the land and the forestry are salt of the earth, with strong sense of community. Thank you for everything you do for the NHS and… only another 96 munros to go!

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Sarah R
20 days ago

I think, perhaps, not everyone will know what you are talking about. I think I do, but then I might be wrong. Could someone kindly say what a Munro actually is?

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  T Pott
20 days ago

This might help

https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/things-to-do/a-guide-to-munro-bagging

It’s a very addictive hobby. Once you have bagged a few it is hard to stop.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  T Pott
20 days ago

Summits over 1000 metres. There are 186 in Scotland, and a fine goal is to knock them off. You can do a bunch en route to Ben Nevis. In the west, they are often in close proximity. Less so in Angus, and the east. I’ve done a mere 25 or so, just to enjoy the atouts en Ecosse.

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Anglican Priest
19 days ago

I thought they were summits over 3000 ft. Congratulations to all Munro-baggers.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  David Exham
19 days ago

Yes. It used to be 3000 feet, but that was converted to 914 metres when things went metric. 286 summits qualify under those terms but please note that they have to be in Scotland, so alas Snowdon and Scafell Pike do not qualify!

There are also some wonderful Corbetts (mountains between 2500 and 3000 feet) such as Beinn Dearg Mor near Sheneval, and the often-climbed hill near Arrochar called The Cobbler… mot to mention Goat Fell on the Isle of Arran (probably climbed by one of our regular correspondents here at Thinking Anglicans).

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Susannah Clark
19 days ago

typo! between 2500 and 3000 feet! [TA ed: correction made to previous comment)

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Susannah Clark
18 days ago

There are also the Marilyns, which are peaks that rise 150m above the surrounding terrain. Around 2000 across the UK should one find Munro bagging too easy a challenge.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Susannah Clark
18 days ago

Old Man of Arran I have climbed. Long story there. Scotland’s natural treasures are God’s special handiwork. I spent a fair amount of time with the teacher/healer Barbara Ann Chase who lived on Cumbrae, where the Cathedral of the Isles is located. Even with terminal cancer (or because of it) she was also God’s treasure in Scotland.

Last edited 18 days ago by Anglican Priest
Tina Minett Stevens
Tina Minett Stevens
Reply to  Sarah R
20 days ago

Hearty congratulations from Hornsea!

Liz Lonsdale
Liz Lonsdale
Reply to  Sarah R
13 days ago

Hello Sarah, I have just seen the news about David in the Oban Times which I picked up at the end of my holiday. How serendipitous is that! Hope you are both well and looking forward to this next phase of your journey together. Best wishes Liz.

Jo B
Jo B
20 days ago

I’ve not met Bishop-elect David but I’m glad the process has gone smoothly and I hope he manages to make it out to our distant corner of the diocese at some point.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
19 days ago

The Community of the Resurrection (CR) at Mirfield sometimes features in TA. A member of the Community was Bishop of Argyll and the Isles over the period 1942-1962 and Primus from 1952-1962. His name was Thomas Hannay.

Lister Tonge
Lister Tonge
Reply to  Clifford Jones
17 days ago

A lovely story of Thomas was still told at Mirfield when I was a member of CR.

A certain CR father returned to Mirfield upon his retirement as a colonial bishop. Finding himself appointed on the weekly mass list to serve for another father, he protested that he should not have to do such things.

The following week he saw on the mass list that his own server, one day, was to be +TH.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Lister Tonge
17 days ago

Thank you for this.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Lister Tonge
16 days ago

I think I know who the ‘colonial bishop’ was. Would you care to confirm that his see was in Asia?

Lister Tonge
Lister Tonge
Reply to  Clifford Jones
15 days ago

Given the dates and the possible candidates for this role, I think we arrive at the same conclusion.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Lister Tonge
15 days ago

I was thinking of Bishop Victor Shearburn CR, Bishop of Rangoon from 1955 to 1966.

Lister Tonge
Lister Tonge
Reply to  Clifford Jones
14 days ago

I’ll spare readers further reminiscences which have nothing to do with Argyll and the Isles.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Clifford Jones
14 days ago

Bishop Shearburn’s CV is accessible on:

http://anglicanhistory.org/england/congresses/blain_hickton2015.pdf

The final paragraph is reproduced below.

‘In 1966, on retirement back to the Mother House of CR at Mirfield, he gave the holy week addresses for the College of the Resurrection. His silver-buckled shoes reminded me [the compiler of the website] of his quiet loyalty to the Anglo-Catholic Congress movement.’

Alastair (living in Scotland)
Alastair (living in Scotland)
15 days ago

Am I correct in thinking this is the only Diocese in Scotland and England where the Bishop has two seats, or cathedrals? Moreover the smallest number of priests to care for?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Alastair (living in Scotland)
15 days ago

The C of E Bishop of Leeds has three: the cathedrals of Bradford, Ripon and Wakefield but paradoxically no cathedral in Leeds itself.

William Price
William Price
Reply to  Alastair (living in Scotland)
15 days ago

The Anglican Bishop of Leeds has three cathedrals, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool has two.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  William Price
15 days ago

But only one of RC Archbishop of Liverpool’s is in England or Scotland.

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  Alastair (living in Scotland)
14 days ago

One of these Cathedrals is St John’s in Oban and the other is the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae. I cannot help thinking that the Oban Cathedral was not well designed but in the age it was built, it was put up in a hurry, when money was scarce, and one of the most unatractive features of this Cathedral are the metal Girders or buttresses joining onto the Pillars. If by a Miracle much money came the way of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles, they could pull this Cathedral down and… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
14 days ago

They could always transform McCaig’s Tower into a rather gorgeous cathedral…

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
14 days ago

Personally I’m rather fond of Oban Cathedral, girders and all. My understanding is that it was not so much a hurry as a victim of an economic crash that largely obliterated available funds mid-build.

If money were no object (ha!) I suspect finishing the Cathedral would be the preferred choice. As is I think it’s more a case of “can we afford to keep it going”.

William Price
William Price
15 days ago

My apologies for forgetting that the Isle of Man is not in England or Scotland. The place to go, outside England and Scotland, for multiple cathedrals sharing a bishop is the Church of Ireland.

K. B. Scott
K. B. Scott
14 days ago

Not related to this SEC diocese, but TA seems to have missed that the Bishop Anne Dyer of Aberdeen & Orkney, suspended previously over allegations of bullying, is now to face a CDT over allegations of conduct unbecoming a cleric. She is the only female bishop in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

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