Bishop of Plymouth Says He Has Enjoyed “Being a Shepherd and an Encourager”
The Bishop of Plymouth, who is to retire this summer after 42 years in ministry, said during his time as bishop he had most enjoyed seeing “God’s spirit changing people and renewing churches.”
The Rt. Rev’d Nick McKinnel, 68, has been Bishop of Plymouth since 2015.
He was previously Bishop of Crediton and acted in the role of diocesan bishop in the interregnum following the retirement of the previous Bishop of Exeter.
Bishop Nick, who has four children and nine grandchildren, said “There are lots of things that I will miss, but it will be nice to have more time for my family and a few hobbies.”
Bishop Nick, who is a keen angler and cricketer, said he had particularly valued the colleagues he has worked alongside “We have a really good team who get on well together.
“It’s that companionship and seeing God at work in different ways, which I really enjoy.
“For example, hearing from people at a confirmation service, whatever their stage of life, how they have come to be confirmed.
“You see how God’s spirit is changing people and renewing churches.
“For me, I have most enjoyed that day-to-day being a ‘shepherd’ to the churches and hopefully an encourager to individuals too.”
Bishop Nick said the tragic shootings in Plymouth suburb of Keyham in August 2021 really stood out for him as a key moment in his time as bishop.
At the time, he gave the address at a service of prayer and reflection for the city and said “It was a chance to articulate how even in the most difficult circumstances God can be present and God is present.
“In many ways the Christian faith makes sense both of the tragedies of life but also the goodness and kindness of humanity.”
He said he had also been struck by the recent 40th anniversary of the Falklands conflict and valued his role at civic occasions in Plymouth and beyond.
Bishop Nick was ordained in 1980 after studying law and working for a development agency.
He served his early ministry in London and Liverpool before returning to Devon in 1987 to become the Rector of Hatherleigh, Meeth, Exbourne and Jacobstowe.
From 1994 to 2012 he led St Andrew’s, the Minster church of Plymouth and was consecrated a bishop in 2012.
Following his retirement, Bishop Nick has been nominated to be the High Sheriff of Devon for a year from March 2023: “I’m hoping to be alongside people working in areas like probation and the prisons and the courts and showing that as a county we are appreciative of them and enrich our society,” he said.
He also the first ever Chancellor of Plymouth Marjon University, a role of which he he is proud: “It’s great to be in touch with young people and students and to see a small university really living out the church foundation that it has and helping those who perhaps otherwise would not be in higher education.”
He will be succeeded as Bishop of Plymouth by the Rev’d Prebendary James Grier, for whom he has the following advice: “Remember that this is God’s church. Keep praying and remembering that He is in charge of it all and we are just a very small cog in the eternal purposes of the Almighty!”
There will be a farewell service for Bishop Nick at Exeter Cathedral on Sunday 24 July at 3pm.