CAPTION: The Rt Rev'd James Grier with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop of Crediton and Bishop of London outside Westminister Abbey

Plymouth’s New Bishop James Consecrated at Westminster Abbey

Posted: 29th September, 2022

The new Bishop of Plymouth has been consecrated in a service at Westminster Abbey led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Rt. Rev’d James Grier made history shortly before the service when he became the first new bishop to swear an oath of allegiance to King Charles III.

Speaking afterwards he said “It was profound and historic, to be the first bishop consecrated under the new king feels overwhelming, humbling and momentous in terms of the honour and privilege of that role.”

As Bishop of Plymouth he will have the whole of West Devon in his care, including Plymouth, the South Hams, Torbay and much of Dartmoor.

Bishop James was anointed with oil during the ceremony

“Be a messenger who deals in the good news of Jesus Christ and an angel to the people of Plymouth.” Rt Rev’d Graham Tomlin

James grew up in Plymouth before studying for ordination in Oxford and working for some years in Birmingham before returning to Devon to be a team vicar in five villages east of Exeter.

During the service he was presented for ordination by the Bishop of Crediton. He was anointed with oil and presented with a Bible and a ring by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In the congregation were friends, family and members of the clergy who had travelled to London to witness the ceremony.

Hymns chosen by James included Be Thou My Vision, In Christ Alone and the great Wesley hymn And Can It Be.

The service included Holy Communion

His wife Liz, who is training for ordination herself, was a chalice bearer during the administration of communion and his sons read two of the Bible readings.

As the service was taking place on the feast day of St Michael and All Angels, all the readings included stories about angels.

The theme was taken up in the sermon, which was given by the Rt Rev’d Graham Tomlin, who has recently stepped down as Bishop of Kensington to establish the new Centre for Cultural Witness.

He told James his role was to “Be a messenger who deals in the good news of Jesus Christ and an angel to the people of Plymouth.

He said to James “Open your eyes to the unseen world which alone makes sense of the seen world.

Bishop James with his wife, Dr Liz Grier

“The power of evil is broken, love, joy and peace win in the end because Jesus wins in the end and that is the good news you proclaim.”

After the service James said “That for me is what ministry is about, it’s about bringing the good news of Jesus Christ. The God of the universe is bigger than our struggles, he has defeated evil and he brings us hope.

“That is what I will be saying wherever I am and whatever I am doing, Jesus loves people, he wants to travel with them and give them hope and purpose.”

Bishop James will now be undertaking a six day ‘Going in Prayer’ walking pilgrimage from Exeter to Plymouth.

He will begin at at Exeter Cathedral on Sunday 2 October and finish at St Andrew’s Church, Plymouth on Friday 7 October.

He will then be officially welcomed to the Diocese of Exeter with an installation service at Exeter Cathedral on Sunday 9 October at 3pm.

Click here to download the Order of Service

Click here to download the Sermon