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New Suffragan Bishop of Plymouth will be on home ground

06 July 2022

Diocese of Exeter

The next Suffragan Bishop of Plymouth, Prebendary James Grier

The next Suffragan Bishop of Plymouth, Prebendary James Grier

THE next Suffragan Bishop of Plymouth, in the diocese of Exeter, is to be Prebendary James Grier, Downing Street announced on Wednesday.

He succeeds the Rt Revd Nick McKinnel, who is retiring in August after seven years in the post.

The diocese is familiar territory for Prebendary Grier, who grew up in the suburb of Tamerton Foliot, where he attended Plymouth College and was involved with local church youth groups. He is currently the Diocesan Mission Enabler (since 2019) and the Deanery Fresh Expressions Officer (since 2021).

At 47, he will be among the youngest new bishops in recent years.

Prebendary Grier studied theology at St Peter’s College, Oxford, before training for ordination at Wycliffe Hall. He was ordained deacon in 1998, and priest the following year, and served curacies in Oxford and Birmingham. In 2007, he returned to Devon to be Team Vicar of St Michael and All Angels, Pinhoe, and St John the Baptist, Broadclyst.

He was also Youth Church Adviser for the diocese. In this capacity, he, with his wife, Dr Liz Grier, set up Unlimited Church in Exeter — a church-plant focused on young people who have no interest in or experience of faith. It was set up as a Bishop’s Mission Order (BMO) church in 2012.

Dr Grier is an academic and musician who is currently training for ordination. The couple have two sons, aged 18 and 20.

Speaking after his appointment on Wednesday, Prebendary Grier said that he could not think of “a greater privilege. . . For so many Plymothians, Plymouth always holds a very special place in our hearts which you never lose, wherever you live. I can’t quite believe that I will be returning home to Plymouth as Bishop.”

He continued: “I look forward to playing my part in expressing the love of Jesus at a time of difficulty and uncertainty for so many. The Church may face many challenges, but I believe that now is a time for renewed faith, deeper prayer, and continued serving.”

The Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Revd Robert Atwell, said that Prebendary Grier would bring “a combination of energy, life, and love for people to his work which will stand him in good stead as the next Bishop of Plymouth. He is a real ‘can do’ person. Born in Plymouth, he knows and loves Devon and will serve its communities with joy.”

Prebendary Grier will be consecrated in Southwark Cathedral on 29 September and installed in Exeter Cathedral on 9 October.

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