Archbishop Stephen Cottrell to visit Chelmsford for portrait presentation

27 April 2023

Former Bishop of Chelmsford, Archbishop Stephen Cottrell will attend Evensong at Chelmsford Cathedral on Sunday 30 April, where his portrait will be presented.

Archbishop Stephen was Bishop of Chelmsford between 2010 and 2020, when he became Archbishop of York. Following the presentation, his portrait will be displayed alongside portraits of his predecessors as Bishop of Chelmsford at the Cathedral Chapter House and Diocesan Offices.

Speaking ahead of the service, the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani said:

“We are looking forward to welcoming Archbishop Stephen and Rebecca back to Chelmsford Cathedral on Sunday. Stephen’s departure as Bishop of Chelmsford coincided with the start of the Coronavirus Pandemic and so the events that were planned for his farewell had to be moved online. Sunday will finally provide us with an opportunity to say goodbye properly and to give thanks for his ministry with us in Essex and East London”.

The Most Revd Stephen Cottrell said:

“Having not been able to say a proper goodbye when we left in 2020, it is an absolute joy to return to the Diocese of Chelmsford and to have the honour of an official portrait unveiling at the Cathedral. I look forward to seeing this and am thankful for this opportunity to catch up with dear friends and colleagues."


Members of the public wishing to attend the service can register here. The service takes place at 3.30pm on Sunday 30 April at Chelmsford Cathedral.


About Archbishop 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, and at St Christopher’s Hospice in South London, he began training for ministry at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, in 1981 and was ordained deacon at the age of 25. 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 also became a member of Springboard, the Archbishop of York and Canterbury’s team for evangelism. Throughout this time 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 became Bishop of Chelmsford in 2010 and served there until 2020 when he became the 98th Archbishop of York. 

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 podcast reflection with Russell Brand, discussing the crucifixion and resurrection. In one of his recent books, Dear England, Stephen Cottrell writes a letter to the country on why the Christian narrative still makes sense today.

He has undertaken several walking pilgrimages, including twice walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, as well as pilgrim routes in England. You can read about this in his book, Striking Out, poems and stories from the Camino. In 2002 he walked from Durham to York with young people from his church youth group.

A founding member of the Church of England’s College of Evangelists, he has also chaired 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 is President of the College of Preachers.  

Stephen is married to Rebecca who is a potter and they have three sons, one grandson and a dog.

Biography published on the Archbishop of York website


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