Bishop-Elect of Dunkeld Fr Martin Chambers (1964-2024)

Fr Martin Chambers, a priest of the Diocese of Galloway who was shortly to be ordained as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Dunkeld, has died aged 59.

Bishop Frank Dougan, of Galloway Diocese, said: “It was with a heavy heart and the deepest sadness that I learned today of the death of Fr Martin Chambers, a priest of the Diocese of Galloway and the Bishop-Elect of the Diocese of Dunkeld.

"I know his family and the people of Galloway diocese who knew him and loved him will be deeply shocked and dismayed at his untimely death.

"Together we give thanks for the selfless service he gave to our diocese; we recognise the enormous contribution he made to support some of the poorest communities in Ecuador and we pray for the repose of his soul.”

“To know Martin was to know a man of love, enthusiasm, humour and a deep faith which enlivened all that he did.”

Pope Francis nominated Fr Martin on 2 February 2024 as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Dunkeld. His Episcopal Ordination was scheduled for Saturday 27 April, 2024.

He latterly served as parish priest at Our Lady of the Assumption & St Meddan’s, Troon (2023-2024)

He established the Martin Chamber Ecuador Trust in 2006 to support the lives of those who live in the poorest conditions in Ecuador and worked on the missions in Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil from 2004-2009.

He added: “On behalf of the Dioses of Galloway I offer our deepest condolences and the promise of our prayers to Martin’s family as they come to terms with his loss, our prayers too are with the people of the Diocese of Dunkeld, who were preparing to welcome him as their bishop.

"We give thanks to God for the great service of a selfless priest and pray for his eternal rest.”

Pope appoints new Bishop of Dunkeld

Pope Francis has nominated Fr Martin Chambers as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Dunkeld.

He will succeed Bishop Stephen Robson who was Bishop of Dunkeld from 2013 to 2022.

Fr Martin (59) is a priest of the Diocese of Galloway, based at Our Lady of the Assumption & St Meddan’s, Troon.

He said:  “As I set out on this new Mission as Bishop of Dunkeld, I pledge to sit in prayer as a Disciple at the feet of Jesus, listening to his voice calling me forward in faith.

"Together, with Christ’s strength and inspiration, we will all be able to continue to build the Kingdom in the Diocese of Dunkeld."

A screenshot of Fr Martin giving a reflection for Palm Sundayin 2020.

He added: "One of the catchphrases of Pope Francis is that, as Christians, we are called to be ‘Missionary Disciples’. The Pope reminds us that, yes, we are all called to take our part in the mission of spreading the Good News in our families and within our local community.

"However, the Pope reminds us that, first of all, we must sit as disciples at the feet of Jesus, listening to Him and letting Him guide our steps.”

Bishop Robson, who was bishop from 2013-2022 before retiring on health grounds, said: “I have known Fr Martin for many years since he was in the Sixth Form of Blairs College in 1981.

Since then, I have followed with great admiration his journey in the priesthood thus far. He was educated in the Royal Scots College in Spain, and he has had great experience in Ecuador as a missionary priest.

Various appointments as pastor, school chaplain and diocesan responsibilities in Galloway diocese then followed. All this previous experience will stand him in great stead going forward as bishop here in Dunkeld."

Fr. Martin added said: “I am conscious that many years ago, I was accepted into seminary by Bishop Joseph McGee.

"He was the Bishop of Galloway who had started off as a priest of Dunkeld Diocese.

"In a strange way, I am returning a compliment in faith for, having started as a priest of Galloway, I am now becoming Bishop of Dunkeld.”

Fr Martin Chambers

Pope Francis has nominated Fr Martin Chambers as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Dunkeld.

Fr Martin was ordained Priest for the Diocese of Galloway in 1989.

He first served as an Assistant Priest St John’s, Stevenston (1989-1993) before being appointed Parish Priest St Thomas’, Muirkirk (1993-1996).

Since then he has served at the following parishes in the Diocese of Galloway:

He studied for the priesthood at the Royal Scots College, Spain – both at Valladolid (1982-1998) and then Salamanca (1988-1989), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Sacred Theology.

Fr Martin (59) was baptised at St Paul’s in Shettleston, Glasgow

He attended two primary schools - St Mary’s Primary in Irvine  and then Guardian Angels Primary in Bury.

He then attended St Vincent’s College in Langbank and then St Mary’s College, Blairs, the then junior seminary for Scotland.

From 2004 - 2009 he served with the Missionary Society of St James in Guayaquil, Ecuador .

The date of his Episcopal ordination is expected to be announced shortly.

Bishop Stephen Robson announces retirement

Pope Francis has accepted a request from Bishop Stephen Robson,  of Dunkeld Diocese, to be able to retire early on health grounds.

He said: "I am now almost 72 years of age and although three years short of the normal retirement age I am, as you might expect, sad to have come to the conclusion that I no longer have the strength necessary to carry on effectively shepherding the diocese.

“However, I am happy to say that the diocese is in relatively good shape, and I have every confidence that a good, younger, and fitter priest will be selected by the Pope to carry on the work of pastoring and feeding the People of God by means of the Word of God and the Sacraments.

The Diocese of Dunkeld is now vacant (sede vacante), and Bishop Robson is now the Emeritus Bishop of Dunkeld.

Since the Holy See is not yet at the point of being able to nominate and appoint a new diocesan Bishop, the task now falls to the College of Consultors, a sub-set of the Council of Priests of the Diocese of Dunkeld, to elect a Diocesan Administrator from among the priests of the diocese who will have responsibility for the day to day running of the diocese. The Consultors are expected to announce their decision next week.

He was rdained priest in 1979 by Cardinal Gordon Joseph Gray for the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews & Edinburgh and served in parishes in Kirkcaldy, Edinburgh, Duns and Eyemouth, Dunbar, East Calder, North Berwick and Broxburn.

He was Auxiliary Bishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh from 2012-2013.

Bishop Robson added: “Since I came to the diocese of Dunkeld in 2013, priests, people, religious and deacons have all been very good to me, and I have tried to serve them as best I can.

"I thank the Holy Father for allowing me to retire, and I wish every blessing and grace on the good priests, deacons, religious and people of Dunkeld.”