THE Bishop of Salisbury is to retire after ten years and says it has been a "privilege and a joy".

The Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, will retire on July 3 - a month short of his 67th birthday.

“Being the Bishop of Salisbury has been a privilege and a joy”, he said.

“In present circumstances, the timing of my retirement has not been an easy decision to make, but it feels right to me and to those I have consulted. The impact of the pandemic is going to be felt for a long time. The Diocese is developing a Mission and Pastoral Plan and we have an agreed financial framework with which to face the future with confidence. We continue to be about Renewing Hope as we Pray, Serve and Grow.

“In Bishops Karen (Sherborne) and Andrew (Ramsbury) and the four Archdeacons, the Diocese of Salisbury has excellent leadership. Our Diocesan Secretary, David Pain, is well established and Joy Tubbs is an outstanding Director of Education. The Diocesan Board of Finance and the Diocesan Board of Education are people of faith, commitment, skill and expertise. I am enormously grateful to them and to the Diocesan Synod. When the pandemic subsides, the scale of what faces us will benefit from a new Diocesan Bishop with whom to make decisions about the future.

“This is a testing time and the life of the Church has never been more important as a witness to Christian beliefs and values for the sake of God’s world. In many ways the Diocese of Salisbury is one of God’s small miracles. The energy, variety and resourcefulness of our churches, chaplaincies and schools are just three of the reasons why being the Bishop of Salisbury is a joy. I am full of admiration for our cathedral, for clergy colleagues and for the people of the diocese who have been extraordinarily resilient and creative in the adaptation of continued ministry and mission."

The Bishop also praised his wife Helen for her support over the years, adding: "Helen has been a major part of what I have been able to do and I am grateful for her and our family’s support. We look forward to retiring to Brighton to be closer to our children and grandchildren.”

The Bishop of Sherborne, the Right Reverend Karen Gorham who will be the acting Bishop of Salisbury during the vacancy, speaking on behalf of the Diocese said: “Bishop Nicholas has brought a rich and wise attentiveness to the Diocese of Salisbury over the last ten years for which we are extremely grateful. His vision to renew hope has led to a sharing of his interests in the environment, inclusion, and the arts with us all.

“Nick is held in high regard across the Church of England and his national roles have informed us locally. His thoughtful faith continues to inspire people across Wiltshire, Dorset and beyond and his deep commitment to us all and the local church has enabled the Diocese to remain resilient in spirit during challenging times."

The Diocesan Secretary, David Pain added: “Bishop Nicholas has been an inspiration and encouragement to many, within and beyond the church. I have experienced him as able to both affirm what is good in all that we inherit and at the same time envision and encourage change where it is needed.

“His vision for ‘Renewing Hope’ has shaped the Diocese and is as relevant now as ever. In a fast-changing context his belief that the local church is the place where the Church of England is at its best will continue to be important as we all seek to respond to God’s calling on our lives. Nationally, in church and parliament, he has been a great advocate for climate justice as well as a champion for inclusion which will remain fundamental to our shared future. His wisdom in these and many other areas will be greatly missed.

“People across the Diocese will want, I am sure, to unite in wishing him and Helen every happiness as they prepare for retirement.”

Nationally, since 2014 Bishop Nicholas has been the Church of England’s lead bishop on the environment and chairs the Environmental Working Group.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, thanked Bishop Nick for his work leading the Church of England’s Environment programme.

He said: “I am deeply grateful to him for his tireless work and colleagueship as a fellow bishop, and for leading the Church’s Environment Programme through a time of enormous growth. Both he and his family will be much in my prayers as he prepares for the next stage of his ministry, as will everyone in the Diocese of Salisbury as they prepare to say farewell to Nick in the summer.”


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