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

More than one thousand people take part in consultation to help identify the next Bishop of Chelmsford

7th Jul 2020

A public consultation held by the Diocese of Chelmsford enabled over one thousand people to share their views to help identify the next Bishop of Chelmsford.

The consultation asked people what they 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.

There was a huge response with over one thousand submissions received from churches, individuals and other community groups across Essex and East London. More than one hundred responses came from young people who completed a specially designed survey for primary aged children and those who gave their views through consultation activities in schools and church youth groups.

Much of the engagement was online with many people completing online surveys or taking part in consultation activities organised by churches, such as video meetings. Many church leaders also contacted those in their congregations without internet access to ensure their views were included in church submissions.

Responses from the consultation will be used by the Chelmsford Diocese Vacancy in See Committee - the group that manages and oversees the Diocese’s role in the process – to prepare the Diocesan Statement of Needs.  This document will describe the Diocese and the role of the next Bishop to potential candidates.

Alongside the consultation, the Diocese hosted a public meeting with the Appointment Secretary for the Prime Minister and the Appointment Secretary for the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. The meeting was the first of its kind to be held on Zoom due to the coronavirus pandemic and provided an opportunity for people from across the communities of East London and Essex, from within the Church of England and beyond to share their views

The Vacancy in See Committee have also elected six of its members onto the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC), the national body that will interview candidates and ultimately nominate someone to be the next Bishop of Chelmsford. 

The CNC will make their nomination to the Prime Minister who, if he accepts will advise Her Majesty the Queen, who will formally appoint the next Bishop of Chelmsford.

The CNC representatives are encouraging people to get in touch to share their views as well as to suggest potential candidates for the role. You can contact the CNC representatives by emailing

Canon Robert Hammond, one of the elected members to the Crown Nominations Commission and Chair of the Vacancy in See Committee says:

We are delighted with the response to the Diocesan consultation. Chelmsford Diocese is so diverse covering the five East London Boroughs and Essex - serving urban, coastal and rural communities. Gathering such a wide range of responses is immensely helpful to the Crown Nomination Committee as we start to discern who God is calling to be the eleventh Bishop of Chelmsford. Thank you to everyone who took part”

The process of identifying the next Bishop of Chelmsford began after The Right Revd Stephen Cottrell left the role in April. Bishop Stephen will formally become the Archbishop of York on Thursday 9 June. The service will be broadcast via a livestream video due to the Covid-19 restrictions.


More information 

The process to appoint a new Bishop

Find out more about the process to identify the new Bishop of Chelmsford at


The consultation

As part of the process to identify the next Bishop of Chelmsford a diocesan wide consultation took place between Monday 11 May and Saturday 4 July.  Over 1000 submissions were made from churches, school, groups and individuals.


Diocese of Chelmsford’s Vacancy in See Committee

The Diocesan Vacancy in See Committee manages and oversees the Diocese’s role in the process. It is made up of elected members of clergy and lay people from across the diocese as well as 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.


Diocesan Representatives on the Crown Nominations Committee

A list of the six representatives from the Diocese of Chelmsford can be viewed here.

Anyone who wishes to contact our CNC representatives to submit views or suggest names should do so by emailing 


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 be confirmed as the 98th Archbishop of York this Thursday 9 July in a service which will be broadcast via a livestream video due to the Covid-19 restrictions.