Tuesday, 23 March 2010

‘fasten your missional seatbelts…’

Just one of the comments welcoming yesterday’s announcement that the new Bishop of Chelmsford is to be the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Reading. This is great news and there is much rejoicing in the diocese at the appointment. It was a real joy to attend the press conference in Chelmsford and to hear +Stephen speak so passionately about the Gospel. Here are a few excerpts from what he said:

StephenCottrell “What sustains me in ministry is the joy and beauty of the gospel. I want us to be a church that is gospel centred, servant hearted and mission focused. I am hungry for us to be a church that connects with every person and every community.

“I am excited by the prospect of getting to know and working alongside the parishes and communities of East London and Essex that make up this great diocese. I look forward to working with new colleagues and making new friends. Building upon the work of those who have gone before us in the faith, together we can do something beautiful for God in the communities we have been called to serve.

“For me coming to Essex and East London feels like coming home. However this is not the end of the journey. We must set our sights on the glory of God and on his son Jesus Christ and on the needs of the world - this is the path we will travel together.”

During the conference +Stephen spoke about how as a teenager he watched the crucifixion scene from Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth. He went to his bedroom weeping, overwhelmed by the sense of what God had done for him through the cross. So began the journey that has brought him to serve as Bishop of Chelmsford.

The only down side that I can see is that +Stephen is a Spurs supporter, though he also seeks to support his local team wherever he lives. In his youth he supported Southend Utd, who really could do with all the help they can get at the moment, and it has to be said that his support for Reading doesn’t seem to have done them much good.

Anyway, great news and I look forward to +Stephen’s installation which is likely to be in the autumn. For a perspective from the Oxford Diocese have a look at +Alan Wilson’s blog Chelmsford! Essex! You lucky people!. Further details about the announcement can be found on the Diocese of Chelmsford website.

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