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News from the Diocese of Southwark

Election confirmed of Tenth Bishop of Southwark

19 Jan 2011

Diocesan Director of Communications

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

The election of the Rt Revd Christopher Thomas James Chessun (54) as the new Bishop of Southwark was confirmed on Monday 17 January 2011 at 5pm at a service in St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside.It is at this service that the Bishop Elect becomes the Diocesan Bishop and is charged with specific responsibilities by the Archbishop of Canterbury.  

Held at St Mary-le-Bow because the church is the historic home of the Court of the Arches for the Province of Canterbury, the service brings together the ancient legal process of verifying the election of the new bishop, which took place in Southwark Cathedral in November, with the opportunity for the Archbishop to issue his Charge to the new Bishop and for all those present to pray for and support the new Bishop.The legal process involves the Vicar General deciding and declaring that all the necessary steps have been undertaken to ensure that the Bishop Elect can become the Diocesan Bishop. 

The church was full as Bishop Christopher swore his oaths and then listened to the Archbishop as he issued his Charge to him which took account of the tasks outlined for the new Bishop during the nomination process.In referring to Antony of Egypt, whose feast day it was, and to the Gospel reading, Archbishop Rowan noted that like Antony, Bishop Christopher might be tempted to retreat into the desert faced with the complexity of the task outlined. Retreating, he said, as Antony had done, allowed him to speak in depth and this is one of the tasks of the Diocesan Bishop.Antony, he said, would stand as his patron as Bishop Christopher sought to discover what God was saying here and now for Southwark. Bishop Christopher, now Bishop of Southwark, then blessed the congregation.

Bishop Christopher will begin his public ministry as Bishop of Southwark on Sunday 6 March.The Enthronement will take place during Choral Evensong at Southwark Cathedral.The service will be followed by a Reception and then at 6.30 there will be an Inaugural Eucharist of Welcome also at Southwark Cathedral at which the new Bishop of Southwark will preach and preside in celebration of the life of the Diocese and in thanksgiving for God's blessings.  

(The services are by ticket only and may be applied for through Communications and Resources)

Photos from the service can be seen here