Bradwell Festival
Gathering the Fragments

About The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell,  Bishop of Chelmsford

Stephen Cottrell is Bishop of Chelmsford and was formerly Bishop of Reading. He has worked in parishes in London and Chichester, as Canon Pastor of Peterborough Cathedral, as Missioner in the Wakefield diocese and as part of Springboard, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s evangelism team. He has written widely on evangelism, spirituality and discipleship. Among his most recent books are a series of Lent and Holy Week meditations, The Things He Carried (2008), a follow up of reflections for Easter Day, The Things He Said (2009), The Nail: Being part of the Passion (2011) and Christ in the Wilderness: Reflecting on the paintings of Stanley Spencer (2012). His best selling, I Thirst (Zondervan) was the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book for 2004. Other books include, From the Abundance of the Heart: Catholic evangelism for all Christians (DLT); Do Nothing to Change your Life: Discovering what happens when you stop (CHP); Hit the Ground Kneeling: Seeing leadership differently (CHP); He has also written a book of children’s stories, The Adventures of Naughty Nora (BRF).

Stephen was ordained deacon in 1984 and priest in 1985. An ordinand of the diocese of Chelmsford, he served his title at Christ Church & St Paul’s, Forest Hill in the diocese of Southwark, having trained for ordination at St Stephen’s House in Oxford. He went on to become Priest-in-Charge of St Wilfrid’s, Parklands, a small council estate parish on the edge of Chichester, and later Assistant Director of Pastoral Studies at Chichester Theological College.

In 1993 he became Diocesan Missioner for the Diocese of Wakefield. It was there that he was part of a group that wrote and developed the Emmaus programme for evangelism, nurture and discipleship which has since been translated into several languages. In 1997 he began working for Springboard, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s and York’s initiative for evangelism and consequently was involved in speaking on evangelism and leading missions and conferences in England and within the Anglican Communion. Throughout this time he and his family were based and worshipped at the Urban Priority Area parish of St Thomas’, Huddersfield, itself a great centre for worship and mission.

In 2001 Stephen Cottrell became Canon Pastor and Vice-Dean of Peterborough Cathedral, where he was responsible for the pastoral care and faith development of the congregation, and the Cathedral’s links with the local community. And in 2004 he was appointed Area Bishop of Reading in the diocese of Oxford, where he would be actively involved in ecumenical developments and mission, and where he chaired the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education.

Stephen’s passions for ministry have always involved evangelism and teaching and commending the Christian faith. He has led many parish missions. Stephen is a founding member of the College of Evangelists. He has also served on the Church of England’s Mission, Renewal and Evangelism committee. He currently chairs the Church of England’s Religion in Media group. And also serves as Warden of the Community of St. Mary the Virgin in Wantage and Visitor to the Society of the Precious Blood.

Stephen’s interests include writing, reading, cooking and music. He is a keen Spurs fan, but also supports his local team wherever he lives, so at various points has followed Southend United, Leyton Orient, Portsmouth, Huddersfield, Peterborough and Reading. He is married to Rebecca, who is a potter and they have three sons.

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