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Bishop of Ely Diocese to retire

Photo of Bishop of Ely

The Rt Revd Dr Anthony Russell has announced that he is to retire as Bishop of Ely on 28 February 2010.

He is one of the longest-serving Bishops in the Church of England and was installed as the 68th Bishop of Ely in the year 2000 after serving as Area Bishop of Dorchester for twelve years.

Bishop Anthony's ministry will continue publicly and fully until 23 January 2010 when members of the Diocese will say farewell to him at a service in Ely Cathedral.

He has been a member of the House of Lords since 2008 and during his time at Ely he has taken a keen interest in rural affairs and in the farming community. He has been a well-known speaker and commentator on agricultural affairs in a wide range of capacities and was President of the RASE (Royal Agricultural Society of England) from 2004 until 2005.

He has been closely involved in the life of the University of Cambridge and serves as the Visitor of St John’s College, Jesus College and Peterhouse. He was Chaplain to HM the Queen from 1983 until 1988.

“It has been a privilege to serve the diocese for ten years,” said Bishop Anthony. “My wife and I have made many friends, and greatly enjoyed living in Ely. The diocese of Ely, with the Fens and Cambridge, is a lively and special diocese which this year celebrates its 900th anniversary”.

His wife Sheila said, “Our time in Ely has been very happy. We have loved being in such a wonderful house. It will be sad to leave so many friends”.

The Dean of Ely, the Very Revd Michael Chandler said, “The Bishop of Ely’s retirement means that the Diocese, including the Cathedral, will lose a wise pastor whose quietly effective style of leadership has enabled us to get on with our mission confident that there is a steadfastness of purpose, and real Christian maturity, at the heart of all our activities”.

“Having worked alongside Bishop Anthony for nearly six years, I have greatly appreciated his understanding of the Cathedral and its ministry, and I know that many others also appreciate his wise counsel and guidance” he added.

The early announcement means moves to appoint a successor can start. There are already eight episcopal vacancies pending nationally, and therefore it is unlikely that the name of the new bishop will be announced before July 2010.

The Vacancy in See Committee is preparing a Statement of Needs for the Diocese. The Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary and the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary visited the Diocese for consultation meetings in November 2009, with a public meeting on November 30th in Ely Cathedral.

The Crown Nominations Commission, which will include six members elected to represent the diocese, will meet on two occasions in the Spring of 2010 to decide upon two names to be recommended to the Queen via the Prime Minister.

It is likely that an announcement will be made in July 2010 with a view to the new bishop taking up his appointment at the end of the Summer 2010.

High resolution photo of the Bishop of Ely