Bishop of Hereford announces retirement

The Bishop of Hereford has announced he is to retire later in the year.

The Right Reverend Anthony Priddis has been the Bishop of Hereford for the last nine years.

Speaking to members of the Diocesan Synod on Saturday, the bishop said he felt it was the "appropriate time" to step down.

"In many ways I would be happy to stay but I think it's a bit like a party, you should leave while you are still enjoying it," he said.

"It has been a huge privilege to serve the people of the diocese, and to be able to do so with such excellent clergy, lay leaders and colleagues."

The bishop's last day in office will be 24 September, the 41st anniversary of his ordination as deacon and the day after the 40th anniversary of his becoming a priest.

He has been a bishop for 17 years, first serving as the Suffragan Bishop of Warwick before moving to Hereford.

A service of farewell will be held for the bishop in Hereford Cathedral on 7 September.

"As I say to people, it's been joyfully relentless," he said. "We have been happier here than we have been anywhere."

The bishop admitted he would have liked to see a woman bishop succeed him and expressed disappointment that this prospect now seemed further away than he wished after the failure of legislation last year.

Reflecting on his time as Bishop of Hereford, he said others would judge his achievements but he felt the diocese was in a good position.

"I think mission is more firmly on the agenda of congregations than it was, and local ministry has got even stronger," he said.

"I am delighted to see, and have encouraged, the deepening of people's relationship with Christ, and the sustaining of that through prayer and worship."

Although he is to become an Assistant Bishop in neighbouring Gloucester Diocese, Bishop Priddis and his wife Kathy will continue living in the Diocese of Hereford.

Other plans for the future include renewing his work with the College of Emergency Medicine, where he is an Honorary Fellow, and the possibility of training people for rural ministry.