Help Identify the Next Bishop of Chelmsford

Diocese of Chelmsford

Public Zoom Meeting
                     with Appointments Secretaries     

As part of the process to identify the next Bishop of Chelmsford, the Diocese will be hosting a public meeting on Zoom with the Appointments Secretaries for the Prime Minister and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. The meeting will take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 1 July. The Appointments Secretaries are working on behalf of the Crown Nominations Commission which is the national body that nominates the next Bishop to the Prime Minister who in turn advises Her Majesty the Queen who makes the appointment.

This public meeting is an important opportunity for people from across the communities of East London and Essex, from within the Church of England and beyond, to share their views on what our next Bishop of Chelmsford will need to bring to the role.

Please register to join the Zoom call here and share this information and link with anyone who you think may be interested.

A letter from Malcolm Bryden

Dear Friends,

On 12 April 2020 Bishop Stephen Cottrell left his role of Bishop of Chelmsford after nearly a decade in post. Later this year he will become the Archbishop of York. We thank him for his huge contribution to our diocese and we will be praying for him and his wife Rebecca as they embark on a new chapter in their ministry.

The process is now underway to discern who God is calling to be the next Bishop of Chelmsford and as part of that process the diocesan Vacancy in See Committee want to hear what you think.

A diocese wide consultation is now open. Submissions are welcome from churches, groups and individuals until Saturday, 4 July. I encourage you to take part in the consultation and submit your own response.

Please click here / complete the enclosed form to give your views.

We will be organising a group discussion for our church community soon, so that we can have our say as a parish. I will send you more details once they have been finalised. The discussion will inform a submission to the consultation on behalf of our church.

You can find out more about the process by clicking here / reading the enclosed print out from the diocesan website. You will notice the web page also includes a prayer of discernment which I encourage you to use as we embark on this important period for our diocese.

If you have any questions, please contact me by email or on 01255 672791.

With every blessing,

Malcolm Bryden

The most important action we can take is through prayer and the following prayer for discernment is a good starting point:

A prayer for discernment

God of provision and care,
discernment and knowledge:
lead us in your love,
empower us by your Spirit,
and equip us with your gifts;
give us hearts full of love for all people,
minds open to the signs of the times,
and wisdom to know how to respond
to the voice of your calling;
We ask this through him whose coming is certain,
whose day draws near, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Process

When a diocesan bishop leaves their role in the Church of England, the process to find and appoint the next bishop is started.

The Diocesan Vacancy in See Committee manages and oversees this process within the diocese and is made up of elected members from the clergy and laity from each Episcopal Area in the diocese and ex officio members- our area bishops, the Dean, two archdeacons and all our General Synod representatives. Bishop’s Council have elected Canon Robert Hammond, Lay Chair of Diocesan Synod and a General Synod member as Chair of the Vacancy in See Committee.

A full list of the Vacancy in See Committee Members can be viewed here.

The Vacancy in See Committee has two important roles:

  1. The first role of the Vacancy in See Committee is to produce a Diocesan Statement of Needs on behalf of the diocese. The purpose of the Statement of Needs is to inform the Crown Nominations Commission (see point 2 below) and potential candidates about the diocese and the role of the Bishop of Chelmsford here in Essex and East London. It describes the diocese including the church and the communities we serve. The Statement of Needs also talks about the strengths of the church in the diocese, the challenges we face and the priorities for the next bishop.  This document is one of the pieces of information that will be used by the Crown Nominations Commission to finalise the role profile and person specification for the next bishop.

  2. To elect six of its members on to the Crown Nominations Commission. The Crown Nominations Commission will meet later this year and is the national body that submits the name of the person they believe God is calling to be the next Bishop to the Prime Minister who, if he or she accepts, will advise the Sovereign who formally nominates him or her. As well as the six representatives from the diocese, the Crown Nominations Commission also includes both Archbishops, (or their nominees) and six national representatives, three lay and three ordained, elected from and by the General Synod. The Archbishop’s Secretary for Appointments and the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary are non-voting members of the Commission.  The Archbishop of Canterbury will chair the Commission.

I will prepare a 'Parish Response' to the following consultation document, but individuals are very welcome to respond directly to the diocese. If you would like to complete your own response you can do so via the diocesan website:

There are the following 6 points to answer:

  1. Can you tell us what you value most about the Church in your community as well as across Essex and East London?

  2. What challenges does the Church face in East London and Essex as we seek to share the Good News of Jesus?

  3. What wider issues would you like our next Bishop of Chelmsford to be passionate about?

  4. What qualities, skills or leadership characteristics will our next Bishop of Chelmsford require?

  5. What kind of person will our next Bishop of Chelmsford need to be (particularly as we emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic)?

  6. What else would you like to tell us?

If you would like to contribute to our parish response, rather than complete your own, please send me responses to all or any of the above questions and I will use them to create a collective reply. Please could you let me have responses by Friday, 19 June so that I can collate our response and share it with members of the parish before sending it to the diocese at the end of June.


Malcolm Bryden