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

Consultation opens to help identify the next Bishop of Chelmsford

11th May 2020

The Diocese of Chelmsford has launched a consultation for people in Essex and East London as the process starts to identify the next Bishop of Chelmsford.  

The consultation will gather views from churches, individuals and other community groups. Anglican churches across Essex and East London will be organising consultation activity, including video meetings, to gather the views of their congregations. Individuals are also welcome to make a submission. 

The consultation is built around six questions. The questions focus on what people value most about the Church of England in Essex and East London, the challenges and opportunities the new Bishop will face and the qualities the 11th Bishop of Chelmsford will need to bring to the role particularly as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. 

The consultation is led by the Diocese of Chelmsford’s Vacancy in See Committee. This is the group tasked with preparing a Statement of Needs which will be used to help describe the diocese and the role to potential candidates. The Vacancy in See Committee will also elect members on to a national body called the Crown Nominations Commission. The Crown Nominations Commission will interview potential candidates and make the final nomination to the Prime Minister, who if he accepts will advise the Queen who formally nominates the next Bishop of Chelmsford. 

Canon Robert Hammond, Chair of the Vacancy in See Committee says:  

Chelmsford is possibly the most diverse diocese in the country covering the five East London Boroughs and Essex - serving urban, coastal and rural communities. Our consultation is a vital part of the process as we try to discern who God is calling to be the eleventh Bishop of Chelmsford. I encourage everyone to have their say”. 

The process of identifying the next Bishop of Chelmsford began after the Right Revd Stephen Cottrell left the role in April. Bishop Stephen will become the Archbishop of York later this year. 


More information 

Take part in the consultation 

As part of the process to identify the next Bishop of Chelmsford a diocesan wide consultation opened Monday 11 May.  Submissions are welcome from churches, groups and individuals until 4 July.

Take part and submit a response online at 

The Appointment Secretaries for the Archbishops’ and the Prime Minister will also be holding meetings at the end of June and beginning of July with representatives of the Church and the  communities of Essex and East London to hear people’s views to inform their advice to the Crown Nominations Commission. 


Diocese of Chelmsford’s Vacancy in See Committee  

The Diocesan Vacancy in See Committee manages and oversees the process within the diocese and is made up of elected members of clergy and lay people from across the diocese and ex officio members-  some senior church leaders and all our General Synod representatives.  

Canon Robert Hammond, Lay Chair of Diocesan Synod and a General Synod member is the Chair of the Vacancy in See Committee. 

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


Vacancy in See process

Find out more about the process to identfy the next Bishop of Chelmsford at


Bishop Stephen Cottrell  

On 12 April 2020 Bishop Stephen Cottrell left his role of Bishop of Chelmsford after nearly a decade in post. Last year, it was announced Bishop Stephen would become the next Archbishop of York, in succession to Archbishop John Sentamu. Bishop Stephen will take up his new role in York later this year.