THE new Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church is to be the Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness, the Rt Revd Mark Strange, it was announced on Tuesday. He is to take over from the Rt Revd David Chillingworth, who retired on Sunday (News, 16 June).
Bishop Strange, who will remain his diocese’s bishop, is aged 56, the youngest member of the College of Bishops. He was consecrated bishop in 2007. “I am humbled by the confidence shown in me by my colleagues, and I will seek to serve the church as Primus with love and strength,” he said.
Among his first tasks will be to fill the three vacant sees in the College of Bishops: Brechin, Aberdeen & Orkney, and St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane. He will also be entrusted to lead the Church through a time of post-election uncertainty and change, after its General Synod voted to allow same-sex marriages (News, 8 June).
Bishop Strange said on Wednesday: “The process by which we reached the decision on same-sex marriage has included a significant amount of debate, prayer, and listening to one another. . . We do appreciate that some people in our Church are unhappy with this Synod’s decision and that the Church now needs to focus on its mission, a task supported by the whole Church.”
Bishop Strange was brought up in Aberdeen, where he was a choirboy and server at St Andrew’s Cathedral. He studied divinity at the University of Aberdeen, where he became a Licentiate of Theology in 1982. After a two-year hiatus, spent as a bar tender, he trained at Lincoln Theological College, and was ordained deacon in 1989.
He served a curacy at St Barnabas with Christ Church, Worcester, before becoming the Vicar of St Wulfstan’s, Warndon, Worcs, for six years. In 1998, he moved back to Scotland to serve as the Rector of Holy Trinity, Elgin, and Priest-in-Charge of St Margaret’s, Lossiemouth; St Michael’s, Dufftown; and St Margaret’s, Aberlour, before his consecration.
Bishop Strange is married to Jane, a teacher in Inverness. They have a son and two daughters.