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Next Bishop of Chelmsford comes home “hungry for us to be a church that connects with every person and every community”

The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Reading, has been nominated by Her Majesty the Queen as Bishop of Chelmsford in succession to The Right Reverend John Gladwin. He will be the tenth Bishop of Chelmsford.

Bishop Stephen Cottrell said: “I was born and brought up in Essex, and it is still the place I think of as home. Now I have been invited to return to this large, diverse and richly varied diocese to serve as your bishop. It is an immense privilege.

“What sustains me in ministry is the joy and beauty of the gospel. I want us to be a church that is gospel centred, servant hearted and mission focused. I am hungry for us to be a church that connects with every person and every community.

“I am excited by the prospect of getting to know and working alongside the parishes and communities of East London and Essex that make up this great diocese. I look forward to working with new colleagues and making new friends. Building upon the work of those who have gone before us in the faith, together we can do something beautiful for God in the communities we have been called to serve.

“For me coming to Essex and East London feels like coming home. However this is not the end of the journey. We must set our sights on the glory of God and on his son Jesus Christ and on the needs of the world - this is the path we will travel together.”

The Bishop of Bradwell, Rt Revd Dr Laurie Green, added: “We are delighted that Bishop Stephen Cottrell is to become the new Diocesan Bishop of Chelmsford.   Bishop Stephen is an exceptional man, whose abiding concern is that we all catch that glimpse of the wonder of God which can change our lives.  

“He is man of prayer who has a shrewd eye for the important issues of the day.  His books are always challenging and delightful, and he will bring new insights about how we should respond to God’s love and justice amidst the world’s challenges.   He is family man of great warmth and charm, and we look forward to learning from him and working with him here in Essex and East London.”


About Stephen Cottrell

1. Stephen Cottrell was born and brought up in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex (baptised at St Barnabas, Hadleigh; confirmed and married at St Margaret’s, Leigh-on-Sea).

2. He was ordained in 1984, having trained for ministry at St Stephen's House in Oxford. He has served in parishes in London and Chichester, on the staff of Chichester Theological College where he taught apologetics and pastoral studies, as Canon Pastor and Vice-Dean of Peterborough Cathedral, as Missioner in Wakefield Diocese, and as part of Springboard, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s evangelism team. He was consecrated Bishop in 2004.

3. The Reading Episcopal Area is part of the Diocese of Oxford. Bishop Stephen has oversight of 200 parishes across Berkshire. He also chairs the Board of Education for the Diocese.

4. Before ordination he worked in the film industry and for a year at St Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham.

5. He is a founder member of the Church of England’s College of Evangelists and serves on their Governing Body. He also chairs the Church of England’s Religion in Media group.

6. He is the author of many books, having written widely about evangelism, catechesis, ministry and spirituality. He is one of the team that wrote the Emmaus programme. This is used by about 3,000 churches in Britain, and also around the world, where it has been translated into several languages.

7. In 2004 he was invited to write the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book. This is entitled I Thirst (Zondervan 2003).  His most recent books are Do Nothing to Change your Life; discovering what happens when you stop (CHP 2007), Do Nothing Christmas is coming (CHP) and Hit the Ground Kneeling; seeing leadership differently (CHP 2008), a book of Lent and Holy Week meditations The Things He Carried (SPCK 2008) and a follow up book for Easter The Things He Said (SPCK 2009).  He has also written a collection of children’s stories, The Adventures of Naughty Nora (BRF 2008).

8. Stephen is married to Rebecca, who is a potter and a lecturer in ceramics. They have three teenage sons. When he’s not ‘bishoping’ or writing books he’s cooking, attempting to paint, reading poetry, juggling, playing the guitar, trying to play the ukulele banjo or busy with the joys of being a dad.


About the Diocese of Chelmsford

9. With more than 2.8 million people, the Diocese of Chelmsford is the most populated Church of England region after the Diocese of London. The Diocese of Chelmsford covers the county of Essex, the unitary authorities of Southend and Thurrock and the five East London boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest. The Thames Gateway, the main site for the London 2012 Olympic Games and London Stansted Airport are all within its boundaries. There are 608 churches in the Diocese, served by 387 stipendiary clergy, 26 non-stipendiary clergy and 360 Readers. The Diocese is led by the Bishop of Chelmsford and is divided into three Episcopal areas, each under an area bishop.


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