Marlborough welcomes the new Bishop of RamsburyThe new Bishop of Ramsbury, Revd Dr Andrew Rumsey, his wife and family have moved to Marlborough from Oxted, Surrey where he was Team Rector. He succeeds the Rt Rev Edward Condry who retired in May 2018.
Revd Dr Andrew Rumsey will be ordained as the new Bishop of Ramsbury by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Southwark Cathedral on Friday January 25. He will become Suffragan Bishop under the leadership of the Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam at a service in Salisbury Cathedral on Saturday January 26 at 5.30pm.
The ancient title of Bishop of Ramsbury dates back to 909AD when it is thought there was a cathedral on the spot where Holy Cross Church, Ramsbury stands now. However, the job extends far beyond Ramsbury and the Bishop will have an oversight of and pastoral responsibility for the clergy of nearly two hundred parishes as well as chairing the Diocese’s Mission and Ministry Council.
“It’s a huge privilege. The Church of England’s aim is to provide a Christian presence in every community, to sustain, defend and extend alongside others doing similar work.”
Some of the challenges to be faced are falling and ageing congregations and finding creative ways to sustain the many Grade One listed buildings.
“It feels appropriate to be close to Ramsbury, the historic seat, rather than another part of Wiltshire. My first service as Bishop, when I will be welcomed into Ramsbury is at Holy Cross on Sunday January 27 at 9.30 am.”
Revd Dr Andrew Rumsey comes from a family of clergy dating back to 1830, with over twenty nine members of his family being ordained, and “the odd monk and nun as well”.
The Bishop’s wife, Rebecca, who is now an executive coach, was born in Marlborough and her father was a Maths teacher at Marlborough College. However, the family moved away when she was a toddler. They are pleased to be back and their three children are all attending St John’s. They are looking for a permanent family home in the area.
“We love it already. I am fascinated by the history of the town and the landscape.”
As well as a love of history, all things vintage and owning a vintage caravan, he is a musician. He is a member, on vocals and guitar, of the rock band Effras, named after a tributary of the Thames. He has written forty to fifty songs.
“The band has an important place in my life. My songs are based on local folk stories, relationships and places. I have a lifelong passion to work out and to explore how where we are shapes who we are.”
This theme is explored further in his book ‘Parish: An Anglican Theology of place’ which investigates the idea of the parish from a sacred and secular viewpoint. He has also spoken on this theme at a Greenbelt Festival.
“I have a love of deep landscape and history. They’re very powerful to me and one of the many attractions of living in Wiltshire.”
The Bishop will have plenty of opportunities to explore the Wiltshire landscape as he gets to know nearly two hundred parishes that make up the northern part of the Salisbury Diocese. “I aim to get to every church and I have been invited to a lot already. Most Sundays I will doing two or three services.”
The first service he will take at St Mary’s, Marlborough will be on Easter Day.