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News from the Diocese of Southwark

Tenth Bishop of Southwark is announced

6 Oct 2010

Diocesan Director of Communications

Tel: 020 7939 9400
Mobile: 07831 694021
Fax: 020 7939 9468

Downing Street has announced this morning that The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun is to be the 10th Bishop of Southwark. He will succeed The Rt Revd Dr Tom Butler who retired in March. Consecrated Bishop in Southwark Cathedral on 21 April 2005, he is the Area Bishop of Woolwich, one of the three Episcopal Areas along with Kingston and Croydon in the Diocese of Southwark. He will be enthroned in Southwark Cathedral in the early part of 2011.

Bishop Christopher, 54, who is an identical twin, was also appointed as Bishop for Urban Life and Faith in May 2010. He will continue to hold this role as Bishop of Southwark.

Before becoming Bishop of Woolwich he was Archdeacon of Northolt, in the Diocese of London. Prior to this he was Rector of Stepney, St Dunstan and All Saints, in London Diocese and was Area Dean of Tower Hamlets from 1997-2001. He has also been Chaplain and Minor Canon at St Paul's Cathedral and London Episcopal Area Vocations' Adviser; Senior Curate at St Mary, Portsea, in the Diocese of Portsmouth, and served his title at St Michael and All Angels, Sandhurst in the Diocese of Oxford.

His interests include history, music, deaf-hearing integration, travel and links with overseas churches.

Bishop Christopher said, 'I was surprised and humbled to have been nominated to be the tenth Bishop of Southwark. It has been a great privilege and joy to serve as Bishop of Woolwich for the last five years, serving as part of Bishop Tom Butler's staff team, until his recent retirement. The Bishops work closely together in this very vibrant Diocese where clergy morale is high and the area system ensures that effective support is given in equipping the clergy and people of our parishes to serve the Kingdom of God in their localities.  

I greatly look forward to getting to know the priests, people and parishes across the whole Diocese. By God's grace, I shall endeavour to deepen our unity in Christ and lead the Diocese in Mission and engagement with the wider community. Please pray for me as I prepare to serve as your new Diocesan Bishop.'

Commenting on the appointment, The Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham, the Bishop of Kingston, who has been the acting Bishop of Southwark said, 'I am delighted that Bishop Christopher has been appointed to be the next Bishop of Southwark. He brings a deep and extensive knowledge of the Diocese to the role and his prayerful wisdom and his pastoral care for the clergy and people of his area is much valued. I have enjoyed working with him in the past and look forward to continuing to serve with him in his new role and to develop the mission of the Church here in South London and East Surrey with him.'

Short biography of the Rt Revd Christopher Thomas James Chessun  

Born in Hampton, Middlesex, 5 August 1956
1967 -1975 : Hampton Grammar School
1975 -1978 : University College, Oxford, BA Modern History, 1982, MA
1980 -1983 : Westcott House Cambridge 
          1981 : St Mark's Theological College, Dar es Salaam (summer placement)
          1982 : Part II Theology Tripos (Trinity Hall Cambridge)
          1983 : Federation Certificate in Theology
          1983 : Ordained Deacon
          1984 : Ordained Priest
1983 -1987 : Assistant Curate, Sandhurst, St Michael and All Angels, Diocese of Oxford
1984 -1987 : Deanery Ecumenical Officer (Sonning)
1987- 1989 : Senior Curate, Portsea, St Mary, Diocese of Portsmouth
                      Member of Portsmouth Diocesan Synod
                      Surrexit, Southern Province Vocations Planning Group
                      Bishop's Certificate, Portsmouth, Tutor
1989 -1993 : Chaplain and Minor Canon, St Paul's Cathedral, Diocese of London 
                      Member City Homeless Forum, London
1990 -1993 : London Episcopal Area Vocations' Adviser
1992 - :         Chaplain, Needlemakers' Livery Company, City of London
1993 -2001 : Rector of Stepney, St Dunstan and All Saints, Diocese of London
                      Trustee, Sir John Cass's Educational Foundation
                      Chair, Arbour Youth Centre, Stepney
                      Vice-Chair, Governors Sir John Cass Redcoat CEVA Secondary School
1994 -1995 : Chair of Planning Group, Stepney Clergy Conference
1996 -2001 : Chair, Governors St Matthias Bethnal Green CEVA School
1997 -2001 : Area Dean of Tower Hamlets
                      Bishop of Stepney's Area Staff Team
                      Chair, Tower Hamlets Racial Incidents Panel
1997 - 2005 : Member London Diocesan Synod
1999 - :         Trustee Tower Hamlets Mission
2001 - 2005 : Archdeacon of Northolt, Diocese of London
                      Member, Bishop of Willesden's Area Staff Team
                      London Diocese Staff Team (Inter Faith and Liturgical portfolios)
                      Chair, Schools' Committee, Bishop of Willesden's Adviser for Hospital Chaplaincy
2002 - 2005 : Trustee, North Thames Ministerial Training Course
2004 - 2005 : Chair, St George's Chapel Trustees, Heathrow Airport
2004 -:           Trustee, Dunhill Medical Trust
2005 -:           Urban Bishops Panel 
                      Vice President, Cambridge House Settlement
2008 -:           President, Association for Promoting Retreats 
                      Chair, Tur Abdin Focus Group
2009 -:           President, Southwark Pastoral Auxiliaries Council 
                      Patron, Robes Homeless Project 
                      Trustee, Bacons Academy 
                      Governor, Alleyn's School
2010 -:          The Community of the Sisters of the Church Episcopal Visitor
                      Bishop for Urban Life and Faith