Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

Bishop John Waine

29th Dec 2020

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Bishop John Waine has died.

Bishop John was the Bishop of Chelmsford between 1986 and 1996 and had previously served as Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich (1978 to 1986) and Bishop of Stafford (1975-1978).

The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the Diocese of Chelmsford are with Bishop John’s wife Pat, his son Stephen and their wider family.


Obituary written by Rev Canon Philip Need

The Right Reverend John Waine KCVO, GCStJ

Bishop John Waine, who has died aged 90 years, was the Bishop of Chelmsford from 1986 to 1996. To his ministry of leadership and service of the Church in East London and Essex he brought considerable experience, having served for twenty years as a parish priest in Liverpool and ten years as a Bishop. He had previously been Bishop Suffragan of Stafford in the Diocese of Lichfield and Diocesan Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

Commanding huge respect for his tact, wisdom and insight, Bishop John always tried to see both sides of a situation and was careful in his handling of those who perhaps felt that their view had not prevailed. With an incredible gift of humour - his responses were always perfectly well-timed - and a great ability to charm others, his ministry of encouragement, support and friendship was appreciated and will be remembered by many. An extremely outgoing and gregarious person he was a committed supporter of Ipswich Town Football Club, loved to watch Cricket at Lords and enjoyed a glass of single malt whisky!

His time in Chelmsford saw him also serve Her Majesty the Queen as Clerk of the Closet, take his seat on the bench of Bishops in the House of Lords and Chair the Church Commissioners at the time of the financial unrest in the early nineteen nineties. He became the Episcopal Visitor to the Benedictine Community of St Mary’s Abbey at West Malling in Kent and, for twenty five years served at Honorary Chaplain to the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London, the Livery Company of which he was to become Millennium Master in the year 1999- 2000 and where he continued to serve on the Court until the end of his life.

As Diocesan Bishop, John Waine built strong relationships with his clergy and church congregations, visiting parishes regularly. He challenged the Diocese to raise money for the Inner City Appeal following the 1980’s Report “Faith in the City” and on a famous day in 1994 ordained over fifty Women Priests at three services in his Cathedral after the change in legislation which made this possible. He built up a good team amongst his Senior Staff by making strong appointments and his inimitable style made it possible for them to respect him and work alongside him as they developed their own gifts and abilities.

In retirement he served on the Press Complaints Commission and became Prelate of the Most Venerable the Order of St John of Jerusalem.

Throughout his ministry John was constantly supported by his wife, Pat, who survives him along with their three sons Stephen, Ian and Simon, their wives, and seven grandchildren. A devoted family man, he enjoyed seeing each of them flourish in their own lives and interests.

Often described as one of the last Prince Bishops of the Church, he had, in his heart a strong faith, a deep humanity and a real love of those around him.

May he rest in peace. Amen.

Philip Need