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Worshippers across Argyll and the Isles will be watching on-line when their new Bishop officially takes up the post on May 1.
While a congregation of less than 50, all social distanced and masked, gather in Oban’s St John’s Cathedral – others will be tuning in electronically to a live-stream of the consecration service that will also be recorded.
Bishop-elect, The Rev Canon Dr Keith Riglin, was chosen in a historic first online episcopal election from a short-list of three candidates and was announced in January as the Rt Rev Kevin Pearson’s successor.
Canon Riglin is looking forward to being a familiar sight in Oban, recognised as ‘the man in purple’ he says, wandering about town getting to know the community and and becoming one of them.
‘I’m no stranger to the area. I’ve been associated with the Diocese since 2012 when I came to work for a few months in Lochgilphead. I’ve kept up that association while I’ve had my current job as Vice Dean and Chaplain at King’s College and have kept coming back to work there as well as be at the Synods held out at SAMS in Dunstaffnage.
‘I’m looking forward to the new challenge, it will be so different to working in the big metropolis of London. I’ve always found the Argyll people to be generous, kind and welcoming and hope to become one of them in welcoming others as we work together the best we can to not be inward-looking.’
The Canon’s Methodist minister wife Canon Jennifer Smith will be staying in London. The couple, who have have two grown-up daughters, will be making the most of the sleeper service between the West Coast and the capital down South, he said to see each other.
In his free time, the Canon enjoys cinema and contemporary dance, is a passionate fan of the music of the late Beatles member George Harrison, and has been a life-long fan of Doctor Who since watching the first ever episode in 1963.
‘I have a lot to look forward to in taking up my new post,’ he said. ‘My only regret is that they did away with the Bishop’s steamer a few generations ago. Instead of being steamed around Argyll and the islands, I’ll be using my car and the ferry just like everyone else!’ he joked.
In London, Canon Riglin has also been serving as Assistant Priest at Soho’s St Anne’s Church as well as his King’s College post and being an Authorised Presbyter at Wesley’s Chapel, London.
Ordained in 1983, he has worked in university chaplaincies in Bath and Cambridge, as a Minister in Amersham and as a lecturer at the United Theological College of the West Indies.
After 25 years serving Baptist and Reformed charges, he received Holy Orders in the Church of England in 2008, serving his title in a Notting Hill parish and community development project.
Before his appointment at King’s in 2012, he served briefly in the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles, where he has had Permission to Officiate since 2012. In March 2020 he was installed as an honorary Canon of St John’s Cathedral, Oban.
Canon Riglin is also a regular tutor on the Oxford University Summer Programme in Theology and a frequent visitor to Ghana and the University of Cape Coast.