Christopher Chessun

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The Right Reverend
Christopher Chessun
Bishop of Southwark
Diocese Diocese of Southwark
In office 2011–present
Predecessor Tom Butler
Other posts Bishop for Urban Life and Faith (2009–present)
area Bishop of Woolwich (2005–2011)
Ordination 1983
Consecration 21 April 2005
Personal details
Born (1956-08-05) 5 August 1956 (age 59)
Hampton, Middlesex, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Denomination Anglican
Alma mater University College, Oxford

Christopher Thomas James Chessun (born 5 August 1956) is the Bishop of Southwark in the Church of England.[1] Having served as the area Bishop of Woolwich for over five years the bishopric of Southwark was confirmed before a congregation at St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside on 17 January 2011.[2] His Southwark Cathedral enthronement took place on 6 March 2011.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Chessun was educated at Hampton School and University College, Oxford.[3]

Ordained ministry[edit]

Ordained a priest in 1984, he served curacies at All Angels' Sandhurst and St Mary's Portsea[4] and was then successively a chaplain at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, rector of St Dunstan's, Stepney, Archdeacon of Northolt (2001–2005) and, on being ordained to the episcopate, Bishop of Woolwich in 2005. He is a passionate advocate of overseas church links[5] and has an identical twin brother.

Chessun's modestly tolerant beliefs on homosexuality were cited by him as the technical reason for declaring the ordinations of three clergy in his diocese to be "valid but irregular". In May 2011, the Church of England declared that three members of the diocese participating in the Anglican Mission in England, ordained in Kenya, were in an impaired state of communion with Chessun due to a conflict of views on homosexuality. These "irregular" clergy would have to seek other bishops to ordain their candidates. His views are similar to those of his predecessor, Tom Butler,[6] who appointed Chessun as Bishop of Woolwich.

In March 2011 he began public ministry as the 10th Bishop of Southwark. He is a strong advocate for the parish system as the most effective means of church presence and engagement in the life of local communities, including the need to proclaim the Gospel afresh amid the rapid changes in church and community life.

Chessun is also the lead Bishop for Urban Life and Faith for the Church of England. This offers him an opportunity to contribute to debates and discussions on the importance of the churches' contribution to urban and public policy within society. In 2012, a small number of Evangelicals criticised him for the appointment of Liberal Catholics to his leadership team.[7]



  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Election confirmed of Tenth Bishop of Southwark". Diocese of Southwark. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Who's Who 2008: London, A & C Black, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7136-8555-8
  4. ^ Debrett's People of Today London, Debrett's, 2008 ISBN 978-1-870520-95-9
  5. ^ Diocesan Profile
  6. ^ Article of 21 July 2011. Retrieved 2013-10-17
  7. ^ See article from The Church of England newspaper: "Summit with evangelicals backfires as Bishop Christopher Chessun faces call for him to resign", posted on
  8. ^ Southwark Diocese — New Bishop of Woolwich
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Colin Buchanan
Bishop of Woolwich
Succeeded by
Michael Ipgrave
Preceded by
Tom Butler
Bishop of Southwark