Page last updated at 13:38 GMT, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 14:38 UK
'Making disciples' is main task
Canon Mark Rylands and his wife Amanda
Canon Rylands was 'very surprised' when he heard he had got the job

Canon Mark Rylands, who was named the new Bishop of Shrewsbury in August 2009, says churches have an 'urgent task of making new disciples'.

Canon Rylands is Diocesan Missioner in Exeter Diocese, where his wife is the bishop's adviser for women's ministry.

He said he looked forward to working in the Lichfield Diocese: "They're very focussed on growing God's Kingdom... that may be why they asked me to come."

The new bishop will be consecrated at Westminster Abbey on 28 October 2009.

Bit daunted

The 48-year-old succeeds the Rt Rev Dr Alan Smith who has become Bishop of St Albans.

We have so much where we can work together in mission
Canon Mark Rylands

Canon Rylands said he was very surprised when he heard that he had been appointed Suffragen See of Shrewsbury.

"A bit daunted - quite humbled really. But hopefully where God calls you, then he'll equip you too."

Since 2002 the canon has been Diocesan Missioner in Exeter Diocese and Canon Residentiary of Exeter Cathedral.

He said he has been helping the cathedral to be better at its mission: "Sharing the faith naturally and helping people who wouldn't normally come to church to find faith.

"Helping the small churches around Devon in this rural county to make a difference in their communities."

As a bishop in Shropshire he said he hoped to continue his passion for rural mission and work with partners in other churches: "We have so much where we can work together in mission."

God was close

The canon went to school at Packwood Haugh in Ruyton XI Towns and then Shrewsbury School.

It was when I was at school at Shrewsbury through a small group and a master there that I found that God was close
Canon Mark Rylands

His father, Canon Michael Rylands came from Newport in Shropshire.

He said his parents taught him about God being a creator: "My dad taught me to spot birds... he taught me to catch butterflies and go fishing.

"But it was when I was at school at Shrewsbury through a small group and a master there that I found that God was close."

He studied Anthropology and English at Durham University and met his wife, Amanda, when they were both at Trinity Theological College in Bristol.

She is currently director of ordinands and Bishop's adviser for women's ministry in Exeter Diocese and serves as a Prebendary at Exeter Cathedral.

The couple have two children who are studying at university.

The new bishop will be consecrated at Westminster Abbey on 28 October 2009 and will be formally installed as Bishop of Shrewsbury at a service in Lichfield Cathedral on Sunday 1 November.




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