New Archbishop of York calls for Church of England ‘to change’
The 98th Archbishop of York has called for the Church of England to “change” during his enthronement.
Stephen Cottrell, who was wearing a face mask, became the Church of England’s second most senior clergyman during a service of Evensong which took place at York Minster on Sunday afternoon.
During the service, Mr Cottrell spoke of his desire to “change” the institution, in light of the recent inquiry into child sexual abuse in the Anglican church.
The damning report, released earlier this month, said the Church put its own reputation above the safety of children and young people, and found examples of clergymen being ordained despite a history of child sexual offences.
He said: “The Church of England has not always been the safe place it should have been.
“We need to change and that change needs to be more than mere words and I’m determined to be someone who will lead on this change.”
He went on to urge the institution to let go of “our pomposity, privilege, position and power”, adding: “I want us to be a simpler, humbler church, but also bolder.”
Mr Cottrell also spoke out on the coronavirus pandemic, adding: “We are at our very best when we build communities of love which look out for and cherish each other, so that there is healthcare for everyone.”
The ticketed event was held under Covid-19 secure guidelines, with strict limits on the numbers attending.
It was streamed on the York Minster and Church of England social media channels.
Formerly the Bishop of Chelmsford, Mr Cottrell takes over from John Sentamu.
The married father-of-three, 62, began his ministry at Christchurch in Forest Hill, south-east London, in 1985, before moving to the dioceses of Chichester and Wakefield.
He was nominated area Bishop of Reading in 2004, where he served for six years before becoming Bishop of Chelmsford in 2010.
A founding member of the Church of England’s College of Evangelists, the new archbishop chairs a group of bishops with an interest in the media and is one of the authors of the Church of England’s Pilgrim Course, a major teaching and discipleship resource.
He also chairs the Board of Church Army, an organisation based in Sheffield committed to evangelism and social justice.