Diocese of Argyll & The Isles elects new Bishop

A new Bishop has been chosen in the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles, with the Rev David Railton elected to the position that has been vacant since the death of Bishop Keith Riglin in September 2023.

Mr Railton accepted the post following a vote of the Electoral Synod, held today in Oban. He becomes Bishop-Elect, and a Consecration is expected be arranged during the next three months.

The current Rector of the linked charges of Holy Trinity in Dunoon and St Paul’s in Rothesay becomes the second consecutive Rector from those charges to become a Bishop, following the election of Bishop Andrew Swift in Brechin in 2018.

The Bishop-Elect said: “Having been in the Diocese for five years I know the people here and it’s a huge privilege to be elected by them. I am delighted but it’s humbling too, and a little daunting.

“It’s tough to be leaving people I know and love in my linked charges but I am consoled by the fact that I will be ‘just up the road’, and I will still be looking after them as their Bishop. I’m moving on, but not moving away.

“This election has come from sad circumstances following the death of Bishop Keith. There is still grieving, but as well as looking back, we are also able to look forward now.”

The Primus, Bishop Mark Strange, who convened the electoral process, said: “I am delighted to welcome David to the College of Bishops, and we pray for him and the diocese as we make this exciting journey together.

“We pray also for the congregations of Holy Trinity and St Paul’s, who again will have to look for a new Rector as another leaves them to become a Bishop, and we pray for the other candidates who offered themselves for discernment.

“I would also like to thank all others who took part in the process – the members of the Diocesan Standing Committee, the Preparatory Committee and the Electoral Synod – for their dedication and commitment which enabled us to elect a new Bishop today.”

Mr Railton was ordained in 2008 in the Diocese of Derby following a career as a pharmacist in both hospital and retail. During his time in Derbyshire, he was the Vicar of three churches and Ordained Chaplain to the Bishop of Derby, before moving to Darlington in the Diocese of Durham in 2015, where he was Vicar of three churches and Area Dean of Darlington.

In April 2019, he moved to Dunoon to become the Rector of the linked charge of Holy Trinity Dunoon and St Paul’s Rothesay.

He is a keen hiker and Munro-bagger, and has climbed 186 of the 282 mountain peaks in Scotland over 3,000 feet in height. He also enjoys cooking and bread making, and has recently taken up stand-up paddle boarding (also known as SUPing) although he admits he spends more time falling off than standing up at this stage.

The Bishop-Elect is married to Sarah, who works for NHS Highlands and Islands, and they have two grown-up children – a daughter Alice, married to Martin, and a son Sam, all of whom live in London.

He added: “I’d like to thank my wife for her support during this process, and also individuals from my two charges who were involved at the nomination stage. I give thanks for their prayerful support.”

Meanwhile, the Rt Rev Kevin Pearson, Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway, has given formal notice of his resignation to the Primus, following his announcement earlier this year that he will retire on 31 August this year.

A mandate to inaugurate the Electoral Process is expected to be issued within 21 days of the Diocese becoming vacant.