In a letter to the Diocese on 3 July, Bishop Donald has announced his intention to retire in January 2023.
In his 12 years of episcopal ministry Bishop Donald has brought many to faith, finding particular joy in the teaching and nurturing of those seeking to know, love and serve Christ more fully, whatever their background or life's vocation.
He has claimed, in all six of his church posts since he was first ordained in 1976, to have the best job in the world. He loves ordained ministry, and encouraging others into it and in it, the latest of which included ordaining new priests at the Cathedral on Sunday 26 June. He has taken his role as chief pastor and teacher very seriously, having taken personal responsibility for regular pastoral visits to the clergy not just pre-pandemic, but most notably also during covid and the enforced lockdowns, when he has maintained one-to-one supportive relationships via Zoom, and recorded video sermons and meditations every week, and which he continues to do.
He is also deeply committed to encouraging greater involvement of lay people in ministry and will be admitting and licensing new Readers in the autumn, and licensing new Lay Ministers and Lay Workers on 15 October, the latter including children and families workers, and youth mission enablers: Bishop Donald has always seen children and young people as an integral part of the church.
As Bishop of Peterborough he has been active in the House of Lords since he was admitted at the start of 2014, speaking on a number of important issues such as farming and rural affairs, prisons and criminal justice, mental health, and North and South Korea, and has taken time to listen to and support other members from all sides of the House. He has set up and led our Diocesan involvement with South Korea, has led a number of pilgrimages to the Holy Land, has been an active Vice President of the Leprosy Mission, and has chaired the Council for Christian Unity.
In his letter, Bishop Donald stated his continued commitment to ministry saying ‘Those who know me well will know that I have no intention of stopping ministry, but in the next stage it will almost certainly be part-time, and by a wise but painful convention it will be well away from Peterborough Diocese’.
Bishop Donald will conclude his time in office with an afternoon farewell service in the Cathedral on Sunday 8 January. Following this, an Acting Bishop, likely to be announced in the autumn, will oversee the Diocese whilst the process continues for the appointment of a new Diocesan Bishop.
Concluding his letter Bishop Donald stated: ‘I simply repeat what I have often said since I came here in 2010, that being your bishop continues to be a great privilege and (mainly) a great joy. I look forward to six more months of that.’