BISHOP OF WOOLWICH
18 January 2005
The Queen has appointed the Venerable Christopher Chessun to the Suffragan See of Woolwich. He will succeed the Rt Rev. Colin Buchanan as the Area Bishop of Woolwich in the Diocese of Southwark, assisting the Diocesan Bishop in the oversight and pastoral care of parishes in the northern part of the Diocese. He will be consecrated Bishop in Southwark Cathedral on Thursday 21 April 2005.
Christopher Chessun, 48, who has an identical twin, has been the Archdeacon of Northolt, in the Diocese of London, since 2001. Before becoming an Archdeacon he was Rector of Stepney, St Dunstan and All Saints, in the London Diocese and was Area Dean of Tower Hamlets from 1997-2001. Prior to this he was Chaplain and Minor Canon at St Paul's Cathedral and London Episcopal Area Vocations' Adviser. He has also been 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.
He is a Trustee of the North Thames Ministerial Training Course and Tower Hamlets Mission and Chair of Trustees for St George's Chapel, Heathrow Airport. He has been a Governor and Vice-Chair and Chair of Governors at a number of schools, is a member of the Diocesan Synod in London Diocese and was also a member in of the Diocesan Synod in Portsmouth Diocese.
His interests include history, music, travel and links with overseas churches.
Commenting on his appointment to Woolwich Christopher Chessun said, 'I am excited at the prospect of working in this urban part of Southwark Diocese. I am strongly committed to urban ministry and to urban renewal and I look forward to the challenges that working in the Woolwich Area will present. My first task will be to get to know the clergy and people of the Area, sharing with them in a partnership in the Gospel.' (more)
Bishop Tom said: 'Christopher Chessun has a great deal of experience of urban ministry and brings many skills with him to his new role. I am pleased to welcome him to the Southwark team and look forward to working with him'.
The Venerable Christopher Chessun
The Woolwich Episcopal Area is comprised of the Archdeaconries of Southwark and Lewisham. It spreads from Abbey Wood in the east to Southwark Cathedral in the west and as far south as Catford. Southwark Archdeaconry comprises the Deaneries of Bermondsey, (7 parishes), Camberwell (8 parishes), Dulwich (7 parishes) and Southwark and Newington (11 parishes) and Lewisham Archdeaconry comprises the Deaneries of Charlton (9 parishes), Deptford (7 parishes), East Lewisham (14 parishes), Eltham and Mottingham (9 parishes), Plumstead (9 parishes) and West Lewisham (9 parishes).
STATEMENT ON APPOINTMENT AS BISHOP OF WOOLWICH
Over the past fifteen years I have enjoyed three very contrasting experiences of ministry in London: four years as Chaplain of St Paul's Cathedral, seven as Rector of Stepney in the East End serving as a parish priest and just under four as Archdeacon of Northolt in the Boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Harrow and Hillingdon. In these very different contexts I have seen Christian presence and engagement at its best, expressing God's love for the whole community and enhancing people's lives. This has helped in my own formation and has encouraged me to be confident for the future of the Church in London. It is a great privilege to have been appointed Bishop of Woolwich. I am excited about working with new colleagues and engaging with new challenges as part of a team under the leadership of the Bishop of Southwark.
Moving south of the River Thames will enable me to look at London in a more joined up way. The two Dioceses of Southwark and London have distinct identities so it is good to have been part of a number of joint ventures in my work with church schools and a more recent consultation on sustaining parish-based Christian Ministry and Mission in neighbourhoods with other faith communities. I hope there will be opportunities for further cooperation in the future. I am also keen to work closely with Christians of other denominations on the long journey towards Christian Unity and I look forward to representing the Diocese on the South London Church Leaders Group.
Thirty years ago on leaving school I filled in the months before going to university working for a firm of solicitors in Borough High Street. A daily task involved carting over boxes of papers to file away in a cellar depository under Borough Market. In my lunch breaks I would often wander into the Cathedral especially when music recitals were underway. I shall be interested to note the differences working from my new office in Trinity House. I already know something of the vibrant, faith-enhancing role of the Cathedral at the heart of diocesan life.
Having been deeply immersed in the dynamics of inner city ministry, especially in my Stepney days, I realise just how tough the challenges are and the heroic part our parishes have played in the struggle for urban renewal in the face of ongoing social deprivation. Each community is a unique set of particular interactions, best understood in the context of living, working, praying and belonging. This will be my first task in the Woolwich Area, with its city, urban and suburban mix, visiting parishes and working in partnership with those engaged in the Church's mission to each community. From the outset I want to learn and listen well. I will try to be a loving pastor and a voice for the voiceless, modelling my Episcopal ministry on Christ the Good Shepherd. I ask for your prayers as I prepare, with immense enthusiasm, for these new responsibilities.
Last updated: 18/01/05