Next Archbishop of York vows to work to bring ‘unity to our nation’

Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, who has been named as the new Archbishop of York Credit: PA/Samantha Pearce

The next Archbishop of York will be Stephen Cottrell, the current Bishop of Chelmsford.

There had been speculation that the second most senior job in the Church of England would go to a woman bishop.

But it was announced on Tuesday that Bishop Cottrell, who is married with three children, will take up the role when Dr John Sentamu stands down in June next year.

Bishop Cottrell, who in the past has called on the CofE to shed its middle class “Marks & Spencer” image, said he was “humbled and excited" at the prospect of becoming the 98th Archbishop of York.

“I will receive the baton from Archbishop Sentamu.

"These aren’t just big shoes to fill, but a big heart and a big vision.

“However, I am not daunted.

“Archbishop Sentamu and I have worked together in mission on many occasions and I hope to build on the work he has pioneered.

“Working alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, I hope to help the church be more joyful and more effective in sharing the gospel and bringing hope and unity to our nation.

“Although I was born and grew up in Essex, I lived and served in Huddersfield for nine years.

"I know and love the north of England.

"Two of our children were born there.

“I now look forward to returning and being a voice for the North, sharing the liberating good news of the gospel and helping to address the discrepancies of wealth and opportunity that too often favour the South.”

Bishop Stephen Cottrell, pictured with the Queen in 2014 Credit: PA/Arthur Edwards

Bishop Cottrell was ordained as a deacon in 1984 and as a priest in 1985.

He is described on his website as a keen writer, with interests in reading, cooking and music.

In 2009, Bishop Cottrell said the church needed to get rid of its middle class image.

He said: “Even today I meet people who think you have to be highly educated or suited and booted to be a person who goes to church.

“That’s so frustrating. How did it come to this, that we have become known as just the Marks & Spencer option when in our heart of hearts we know that Jesus would just as likely be in the queue at Asda or Aldi?”

The role of Archbishop of York dates back to St Paulinus in 627AD.