Bishop of Exeter retiring after 13 years at cathedral
The Bishop of Exeter is to retire after 13 years at the head of the diocese.
The Rt Rev Michael Langrish announced his decision to step down yesterday, bringing to an end 40 years in the priesthood.
Bishop Michael, 67, will take his last service in Exeter Cathedral on June 29.
In a letter sent to all Church of England clergy in parishes across Devon on Sunday, he said he had "grown to love the county and its people deeply".
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"Although 2012 has been a challenging year, as have many others before it, I hope that I leave the Church of England in Devon in good heart," he wrote.
"We have recently seen growth in the number of vocations to authorised ministry, positive indications in terms of the numbers of those who worship with us and cause for optimism in the financial contributions we receive.
"For all of these, I am enormously grateful for your support and the depth of your commitment to growing God's Kingdom."
Mr Langrish, who was born in Southampton, leaves after a turbulent year which began with the Occupy protest movement setting up camp in the city's cathedral grounds and ended with the defeat of legislation introducing the first women bishops.
In one of his last public acts he abstained from the vote, despite claiming to support women bishops, because he feared the legislation would be mired in litigation and did not do enough to protect those who wanted to exercise "freedom of conscience".
Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw, himself a committed Christian, who criticised the move as ignoring the will of Exeter Diocese, wished Bishop Michael and wife Esther "all the best for their retirement".
"Bishop Michael and I haven't always seen eye to eye, most recently on women bishops, but he has served the Exeter Diocese with great distinction," he added.
"He has worked hard to speak for the interests of Devon, particularly its rural communities, and has also done extremely valuable work on reconciliation between the Palestinians and Israelis."
Mr Langrish studied history and social sciences at Birmingham University, followed by a PGCE and a short career in teaching. He was made honorary canon of Coventry Cathedral and after a spell as suffragan bishop of Birkenhead in 1993, he went on to become Bishop of Exeter in 2000.