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Help Identify the Next Bishop of Chelmsford Hub Page

Consultation Resources for Church Leaders

This page contains resources to help church leaders to organise consultation activity in their own parishes and communities. The deadline for consultation submissions is 4 July. The page contains:

  1. Prayer Resources
  2. Promotional resources
  3. Resources for families and  leaders of children and young people's groups 
  4. Parish Consultation Advice and Resources

1. Prayer Resources

Every one of us has an active part to play in seeking God's wisdom and care for those responsible for the discernment process and those whom God is calling to be considered for this crucial role of service in the life of our diocese.

The Very Reverend NIcholas Henshall, Dean of Chelmsford has written prayer resources to be used regularly in worship and daily prayer, on prayer boards, in parish notice sheets, among home groups and prayer groups across your communities.  

Download Prayer Resources.


2. Promotional Resources

Short article for parish newsletter/ notice sheet

Help Identify the Next Bishop of Chelmsford - consultation now open

The process is now underway to discern who God is calling to be the next Bishop of Chelmsford. As part of this process, a diocese wide consultation is now open.

Submissions are welcome from churches, groups and individuals until 4 July. A group discussion will be organised in our parish soon, so that we can give the views of our church community. Look out for more details shortly [or insert details if you have them]. The discussion will inform a submission to the consultation on behalf of our church. Submissions are also welcome from Individuals.

You can have your say here

The consultation will help to inform the Diocesan Statement of Needs. The Statement of Needs is an important document that will help the Diocese tell a story about who we are and what our priorities are for the future. It will be read by candidates and those who make decisions during the process.

Prayer is at the heart of this process. The Very Reverend Nicholas Henshall, the Dean of Chelmsford has written a prayer for discernment which we encourage you to say as we embark on this important period for our diocese.

Prayer resources and more information about the process can be found at

  • Online submissions can be made here
  • If you are unable to complete the consultation online, please contact [insert name and contact details] for a paper copy.

Example Parish Email or Letter

The text below can be used as either an email or a letter for those who don’t use email.

Where you are sending a letter, you may wish to print out a copy of the web page which explains the process to insert it with the letter.


Dear Friends,

Help Identify the Next Bishop of Chelmsford – consultation now open

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 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 [or insert details if you have them]. 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 on [insert contact details].

With every blessing,


Model Social Media Graphics and Copy

Click here to download graphics to use on your church social media accounts.


Social Media Copy

The following are examples of social media copy you might use on your own church social media channels.


The process to identify our next diocesan bishop is underway and the consultation is now open! Submissions are welcome from individuals, parishes, church and community groups. We’ll be organising a discussion to inform a submission from our parish soon. Take part at -  

The process to identify the next Bishop of Chelmsford is underway. We’ll be organising a discussion as a parish soon. In the meantime, you can have your say at

A consultation is open for people in Essex and East London to have their say and help identify the next Bishop of Chelmsford. Take part and submit a response online at

What qualities, skills or leadership characteristics will the next Bishop of Chelmsford require? Submit a response to the consultation as an individual online at We will also be organising a discussion to inform a submission from our parish soon.

What  challenges does the Church face in East London and Essex as we seek to share the Good News of Jesus? Take this opportunity to have your say in our consultation which will help to identify the next Bishop of Chelmsford at We’ll be organising a discussion to inform a parish response, look out for more details soon.


For use with the graphic showing the prayer:

Please join us in praying for discernment as the process starts to identify the next Bishop of Chelmsford. You can have your say here

3. Resources for families and leaders of children and young people's groups

We are encouraging everyone from across the diocese of Chelmsford to take part in the consultation including children and yound people. The resources below have been designed especially for primary school aged children and young people. 

1) So what does a Bishop Actually Do video

This video can be used along with the consultation resources below


2) Primary Aged Children's Consultation Worksheet

This worksheet has been produced to help children learn about what it means to be a bishop and to share their own views on what the new Bishop of Chelmsford should do. It can be used in schools, online children's group activtiy or in families.

An online version of the worksheet is available here.

Please scan and return completed copies of the consultation form to or hard copies by post to The Vacancy In See Committee, The Diocese of Chelmsford, 53 New Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1AT. A version of the worksheet that can be completed online will be available soon.
















3) Facilitation Script for use with older children and young people

We would love to hear what older children and teenagers think. Click here to download a helpful script that churches, youth leaders or families might like to use in a special Zoom meeting, phone call or around the dinner table, whichever they feel would be most effective in their circumstances.

Responses that are gathered using the facilitation script can be returned as follows:

- By email to

- By post to The Vacancy In See Committee, The Diocese of Chelmsford, 53 New Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1AT

- By using the diocesan online response form


Safeguarding and Digital Communications.

As more of us are now using digital and video communications in our ministry it is important that we are aware of the safeguarding implications and following best practice. Please ensure you are familiar with the following guidance and share it with those in your parish who organise online meetings or worship activity.

Advice for using video conferencing for youth work during Covid-19

Using Zoom for video meetings with young people

Keeping children safe online


4. Consultation Resources and Guidance

As well as encouraging responses from individuals we are asking parishes, church groups, community groups and young people’s groups to make their own submissions to the consultation.

If you are submitting a response on behalf of a parish or group, you can use the same response mechanisms as for individuals but make clear that your response if on behalf of the organisation or group you represent:

Organising your consultation

Video meetings

Organising a video meeting is a good way to host a discussion. There are a variety of platforms but most parishes have been using Zoom for video meetings. Guidance for setting up and using Zoom can be downloaded here. It is important that we follow safeguarding guidance when using video conferencing. It is important to be familiar with and follow safeguarding best practice when using video conferencing. This can be read here.

Here are some top tips:

  1. Allow 1-2 hours for your discussion
  2. Start with a prayer, you may wish to use the diocesan prayer for discernment.
  3. Use the 6 consultation questions as agenda items. Circulate the agenda in advance of the meeting along with the prayer for discernment to allow people time to pray and reflect before the meeting.
  4. Appoint a chair and a scribe who will take notes and write them up at the end of the meeting. The notes can then be circulated to participants for comment before they are submitted. It is best if the scribe is not the person chairing the discussion
  5. If there are a large number of people on the call, you may wish to ask someone to host and manage the call who is not the chair or scribe. This person can then mute all participants apart from the chair and unmute people when they raise their hand to speak. This stops background noise and also makes it easier for people to indicate when they have something to say. If this is the first time you have organised a video meeting in the parish, you may wish to organise a practice meeting in advance so people who are less comfortable with the technology can make sure they can log in easily. This means you won’t need to spend your consultation meeting sorting out technical problems.
  6. Video conferencing facilities such as Zoom include chat functionality where people can type questions or comments. We suggest you don’t use these as they can be a distraction and result in two conversations taking place in a single meeting or important contributions being missed.
  7. If you are using Zoom, you can enable breakout rooms in account settings. This allows you to split people into small discussion groups of 4-5 people and is a good way of ensuring everyone can have their say. You might start your meeting with an hour of break out groups where people work through the 6 questions. Each group can appoint a scribe who will then share the groups response with the wider group in the second part of the call. Alternatively, you could break people into groups on several occasions throughout the discussion to consider one or two questions at a time


Making sure nobody is excluded

Not everyone will be able to participate in video meetings and it is vital that nobody is excluded from our consultation activity. Here are some things you can do to ensure that your consultation is inclusive:

  1. Send those who can’t participate in the call a paper version of the form in advance and ask them to send it back to the meeting organiser in advance. That person’s contribution can then be read out during the video meeting or in a breakout group. Make sure that anyone who is contributing in this way is aware that their response will be read out in the meeting. When sending people paper versions of the form, they should also be given the option of responding as an individual and sending their response directly to the Vacancy in See Committee at the Diocesan Office (the return address is on the form).
  2. Some people may be more comfortable telephoning into a meeting rather than participating online. When you set up a Zoom meeting there is an option for people to dial in however they will be charged for doing so. Zoom do offer an add on package that allows people to call in for free but this costs the Zoom account holder £100 a month.
  3. The meeting scribe, host or other designated people may telephone people who can’t participate in advance of the video meeting to talk through the agenda and listen to their views. We will be providing further advice on conducting effective one to one telephone meetings soon.

Advice on using Citizens UK Listening Techniques

Revd Caroline Beckett and Revd Andy Griffiths share lessons from Citizens UK on effective listening to help support your consultation activities.




Help Identify the Next Bishop of Chelmsford Hub Page



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