December 17, 2019 / 1:39 PM / 2 months ago

Liberal bishop becomes Archbishop of York, No. 2 in Church of England

FILE PHOTO: Archbishop of York John Sentamu applauds following the service where Reverend Libby Lane was consecrated as the first female Bishop in the Church of England at York Minster in York, northern England January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Lynne Cameron/Pool

LONDON (Reuters) - Anglican Bishop Stephen Cottrell, a supporter of women clergy and a strong opponent of nuclear weapons, is to be the new Archbishop of York.

The 61-year-old Bishop of Chelmsford in eastern England will replace John Sentamu, who is retiring, and become the Church of England’s second most senior clergyman behind the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Cottrell has been outspoken in his support for women clergy and has said everyone is welcome in the Church regardless of their sexuality.

He said he looked forward to being “a voice for the North” and helping to address the discrepancies of wealth and opportunity that often favour the South of Britain.

Ordained in 1985 after a brief stint in the film industry, Cottrell began his ministry in southeast London before moving to the dioceses of Chichester in southern England and Wakefield in the North.

He replaced the openly gay priest Jeffrey John as bishop of Reading in 2004 after John was pressured to step down by then Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Cottrell then went on to become bishop of Chelmsford in eastern England, a role he has held since 2010.

In April, he co-signed a letter opposing a proposed service at Westminster Abbey to celebrate 50 constant years of patrols by the UK’s nuclear deterrents, saying there was no circumstance in which they should ever be used. 

Sentamu, Britain’s first black archbishop, welcomed Cottrell’s appointment, saying he has “the Gospel in his belly and a tiger in his tank”.

Reporting by Joanna Taylor, editing by Stephen Addison

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