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Bishop of Chelmsford prepares for installation ceremony
Bishop of Chelmsford Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell
Bishop Cottrell was educated at Belfairs High School in Leigh-on-Sea

The new Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, is preparing to officially take up his post.

The former Anglican Bishop of Reading, who was born and raised in Leigh-on-Sea, will be installed at a ceremony in Chelmsford Cathedral on 27 November.

He will become the 10th person to lead the country's second largest diocese.

"I've had a fantastic welcome back into the county, and I think people are glad to have an Essex boy as their Bishop," the 52-year-old told BBC Essex.

Bishop Cottrell was announced as the the successor to the retiring Right Reverend John Gladwin in March.

He will lead a diocese comprising 2.7 million people across Essex and five London Boroughs.

"We've got over 500 churches in every community right across the county; hundreds of clergy and thousands of people who are part of the church," he said.

"The Church of England is the largest voluntary organisation in the county, we're the biggest provider of education outside of the state, so it's a big thing.

"It's humbling to come and be the servant the leader of this great church."

Before the installation ceremony at Chelmsford Cathedral, Bishop Stephen will hold a short service of prayer at the historic chapel of St Cedd's in Bradwell-on-Sea.

"It's where St Cedd landed to bring the Christian faith to the East Saxons as we used to be known.

"I wanted to begin my day at the start of my ministry as the Bishop of Chelmsford in the place where the Christian faith was associated with first coming to this part of the world."

Having been educated at Belfairs High School in Leigh-on-Sea, Bishop Stephen was ordained a deacon in 1984 and a priest in 1985.

After becoming Vice-Dean of Peterborough Cathedral in 2001, he took up the role of Area Bishop of Reading in Diocese of Oxford in 2003.

He hoped his role as Bishop of Chelmsford would see him play an important part in Essex life.

"My experience is that for people of other faiths, Christian faith and also people who wouldn't call themselves people of faith, all value the contribution the Christian church makes," he said.

Chelmsford Cathedral
The installation ceremony will take place at Chelmsford Cathedral

"I think people recognise the values the church holds on to, cherishes, teaches and upholds and therefore I think people say the church has a place in our society and that's what I'll be speaking for."

He believed one of the biggest challenges facing the diocese was the current economic climate.

"I'm concerned for a lot of particularly low income families who I think are going to really struggle over the next couple of years," he said.

"That's a big challenge to all of us, but challenge is also an opportunity.

"I'm also hoping that good can come out of it in terms of community, caring for our neighbours and looking out for other people."




SEE ALSO
Bishop ready for 'big challenges'
22 Mar 10 |  Religion & Ethics
New Bishop of Chelmsford revealed
22 Mar 10 |  Essex
New Bishop search gets underway
04 Dec 09 |  Religion & Ethics
Reading set to get a new Bishop
24 Mar 10 |  Religion & Ethics

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