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New Bishop of Chelmsford ready for 'big challenges'
Bishop of Chelmsford Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell
The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell is currently Bishop of Reading

The new Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford hopes to be able to address a number of big challenges facing the church when he takes up the post later this year.

The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell has been announced as the 10th Bishop of the country's second largest diocese.

He said taking a lead in green issues and reconnecting the church with young people were two of his greatest tasks.

The current Bishop of Reading told BBC Essex: "I look forward to taking a lead on those kinds of issues."

"Many people know little or nothing about the Christian faith, they're growing up like I did without contact with the Christian church," he added.

"Reconnecting with our communities, reconnecting with individuals lives, being able to find ways of expressing the Christian faith which connect to the questions people are asking today.

"That's the challenge of the church in every age, but it's a big one in ours, but I'm excited by that.

Chelmsford Cathedral
Chelmsford Cathedral will be Bishop Stephen's new place of work

Bishop Stephen, who was born in Leigh-on-Sea and ordained in 1984, also explained the church had a role to play in promoting a 'greener' way of living.

"I do believe there's a wisdom in the church tradition about how we live sustainably, how we live simply, how we learn what's enough," he said.

The Right Reverend, who succeeds the retired Bishop John Gladwin, also hopes to address any concerns which are leading people to leave the Church of England.

"For those who are feeling anxious about some of the big issues facing us internally, particularly the issue of women being ordained as Bishops, I hope I'll be an assuring presence," he told BBC Essex.

"I myself support women as Priests and Bishops, but I also support wanting to honour and provide for those who disagree."

Special place

The new Bishop of Chelmsford said he was delighted to be 'coming home'.

He was Baptised at St Barnabas Church in Hadleigh, went to school at Belfairs High School in Leigh-on-Sea and was confirmed and married at the town's St Margaret's Church.

Among his favourite places in Essex, which naturally include his home town, he said there was one place in particularly that stood out for him.

"St Cedd's Chapel at Bradwell has, for as long as I've been a Christian, been a very special place for me and will be one of the first places I visit," said the 51-year-old.

"I do intend, if the diary allows it, on the day I am inaugurated to attend there and offer prayer."

Bishop Stephen with pupils of St Peters C of E Primary in South Weald
Bishop Stephen is keen to engage young people with Christianity

He also revealed to BBC Essex his love of opera, Van Morrison, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan and that his favourite hymn was 'I heard the voice of Jesus say, "Come Unto Me and Rest"'.

Intriguingly, Bishop Stephen will be the first leader of the Diocese in 26 years not to be named John, a fact which was not lost on him.

"I did think I'd have to change my name by deed poll to 'John' before I could become Bishop of Chelmsford," he said.

"As people will know, the past five Bishops have all been John, so it's a bit of a change of direction now!"

New Bishop of Chelmsford revealed
22 Mar 10 |  Essex
New Bishop search gets underway
04 Dec 09 |  Religion & Ethics


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