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18 January 2005

Christopher ChessunThe 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
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 Exploration in Faith 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
Vice-Chair and Chair, Governors Stepney Greencoat CEVA 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 - : Member London Diocesan Synod
1999 - : Ministerial Review Consultant
Trustee Tower Hamlets Mission
2001 - : 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, London Diocesan Board for Schools Trustee, Chair (2004), St George's Chapel Heathrow Airport Bishop of Willesden's Adviser for Hospital Chaplaincy
2002 - : Trustee, North Thames Ministerial Training Course All Saints Educational Trust
2004 - : Dunhill Medical Trust

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).


The Venerable Christopher Chessun's Address


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.


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Diocese of Southwark
Last updated: 18/01/05