THE appointment of the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell as Archbishop of York designate was greeted by an outpouring of celebration on Tuesday.
The present Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, who first met Bishop Cottrell at work during the Decade of Evangelism, said that the nomination had “gladdened my heart”.
The Archbishop of Canterbury described him as “someone who radiates the joy and love of Jesus, making his hearers want to meet and know Christ better”, and noted his work on “tackling our past failures in our attention to diversity, to outer estates”. Among the SDF grants secured by the diocese of Chelmsford under Bishop Cottrell is money to create an Anglo-Catholic church-plant in Jaywick, one of the most deprived neighbourhoods in England (News, 25 January).
Priests in both Chelmsford and the Province of York posted tributes. An Assistant Curate at Emmanuel with St Peter, Forest Gate, the Revd Prince Doms Odoemena — a benefice in which Bishop Cottrell served as curate — described it as a “perfect and wise appointment”, while the Revd Dr Johanna Kershaw, Associate Priest of Outwood, Stanley, and Wrenthorpe, in Wakefield, wrote: “The more I think about the appointment of Stephen Cottrell to York, the more pleased I am. He’s a great teacher and communicator of the faith, he’s rooted in Catholic spirituality, he speaks his mind, and he’s a voice for LGBT inclusion. And he used to work in Wakefield.”
Jayne Ozanne, a member of the General Synod and a prominent LGBT campaigner, said that Bishop Cottrell had “spoken out — when many others have been silent — about the need for the Church to respect and honour the LGBT+ community”.
In 2017, the vicars of two churches in Essex declared publicly that they had no confidence in the “unbiblical” leadership of Bishop Cottrell (News, 23 June 2017). Andrea Williams, a member of the General Synod and CEO of Christian Concern said on Tuesday: “This is not a bishop who respects biblical truth when it comes to human sexuality or marriage.”
The diocese of Chelmsford has a link to the Mount Kenya East region, and Bishop Cottrell has, in recent years, been a member of the Anglican Consultative Council. Archbishop Welby said that he “knows well the variety and vibrancy of the Anglican Communion, and is utterly committed to the life and unity of the communion as a whole”. His appointment was greeted as “fantastic news” by the Mothers’ Union.
During the announcement at Church House on Tuesday, Bishop Cottrell signalled that there would be closer working with the Archbishop of Canterbury under his tenure. At a public meeting held to inform the CNC’s decision earlier this year, a former Canon of York Minster and retired Rural Dean of Easingwold, the Revd John Harrison, said that the province needed an Archbishop who could delegate, as the diocese was too large and diverse to manage (News, 21 June 2019).