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Election of Bishop Stephen Cottrell as the 98th Archbishop of York

11 Jun, 2020

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Election of Bishop Stephen Cottrell as the 98th Archbishop of York, Thursday 11 June 2020

Bishop Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell was today formally ‘Elected’ by York Minster’s College of Canons to be the 98th Archbishop of York.  The election endorses the Queen’s nomination of Bishop Stephen as the new Archbishop, in a ceremony that has been part of the statutory process for appointing senior bishops in the Church of England since 1533.

The Election ceremony normally takes place in York Minster’s Chapter House with all of the Minster’s Canons present in person, but it was held today via video conference to comply with the Coronavirus restrictions.

As required by the 1533 Appointment of Bishops Act, the proclamation below, issued by the Right Revd Dr Jonathan Frost, Dean of York, as the President of the Minster’s College of Canons, was published at the end of the Election ceremony to announce the result:

“In the name of the College of Canons We, Jonathan Hugh Frost, being the Dean of the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York and President of the College of Canons of the said Cathedral Church,

“Being required publicly to notify and declare that the See of the Archbishopric of York having been for some time vacant by the resignation of the Most Reverend John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu last Archbishop thereof,

“We the said College of Canons of this Cathedral Church (in pursuance of and proceeding according to the tenor of a Writ of Congé D’Élire and Letter Recommendatory from Her Sacred Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second to Us directed and delivered) have this day Elected the Right Reverend Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell Bishop of Chelmsford to be our Archbishop and Pastor in this Archiepiscopal See of York whom God long preserve.

Read in the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of York aforesaid the eleventh day of June in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twenty, By us, Dean of York.”

Bishop Stephen’s appointment as Archbishop will be completed in the Confirmation of Election ceremony to be held at 11.00am on Thursday 9 July 2020, in a service that will be broadcast entirely via video conference due to the Coronavirus restrictions.  The service will be available on the Church of England website at www.churchofengland.org.

Arrangements for Bishop Stephen’s enthronement service at York Minster will be announced later in the year.

Prayer on the Election of the Archbishop of York

Generous God, we give you thanks:
you have heard our prayer,
guided your people
and raised up Stephen
to serve as the next Archbishop of York.
By your Holy Spirit, grant to him
good counsel, holy insight and
joy in the gospel,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Biographical details – Bishop Stephen Cottrell

Born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, in 1958, Stephen Cottrell was educated at Belfairs High School, Leigh-on-Sea, and the Polytechnic of Central London. He found faith as a teenager through the work of youth organisations in his local church.  After a brief spell working in the film industry, he began training for ministry at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, in 1981 and was ordained deacon at the age of 26. He later studied for an MA with St Mellitus College.

Serving his curacy in Christ Church and St Paul’s, Forest Hill, south London, in the mid-1980s he was priest-in-charge at St Wilfrid’s, in Parklands, a council estate parish in Chichester from 1988 to 1993. He also served as Assistant Director of Pastoral Studies at Chichester Theological College at the same time.

He then moved to West Yorkshire, as Diocesan Missioner and Bishop’s Chaplain for Evangelism in the Diocese of Wakefield and in 1998 he took up the role of Springboard Missioner and Consultant in Evangelism. During his time in the diocese he adopted Huddersfield Town as his team alongside his beloved Spurs.

In 2001, he was called south to become Canon Pastor of Peterborough Cathedral and three years later was consecrated as Bishop of Reading. He took up his current role as Bishop of Chelmsford in 2010.

Author of more than 20 books including children’s books, he enjoys poetry, music and art. His 2013 book on the artist Stanley Spencer, Christ in the Wilderness, prompted a recent podcast reflection with Russell Brand, discussing the crucifixion and resurrection.

He has undertaken several pilgrimages, including twice walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, as well as pilgrim routes in England including to his future See in York.

A founding member of the Church of England’s College of Evangelists, he chairs a group of bishops with an interest in the media and is one of the authors of the Church of England’s Pilgrim course, a major teaching and discipleship resource. He also chairs the Board of Church Army. Based in Sheffield, but working across the British Isles, Church Army is an organisation committed to evangelism and social justice. He is Bishop Protector for the Society of St Francis.

Stephen is married to Rebecca who is a potter.  They have three sons.

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