Christopher Cocksworth

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Christopher Cocksworth
Bishop of Coventry
Official portrait of The Lord Bishop of Coventry crop 2.jpg
In office2008–present
PredecessorColin Bennetts
Other postsPrincipal, Ridley Hall, Cambridge (2001–2008)
Chaplain, Royal Holloway, University of London (1992–1997)
Ordination1988 (deacon)
by Michael Adie
1989 (priest)
by David Wilcox
Consecration3 July 2008
Personal details
Born (1959-01-12) 12 January 1959 (age 60)
ResidenceBishop's House, Coventry
SpouseCharlotte Pytches
Childrenfive sons
ProfessionBishop, theologian
Alma materUniversity of Manchester

Christopher John Cocksworth (born 12 January 1959) is a Church of England bishop in the open evangelical tradition. He is the current (9th) Bishop of Coventry; prior to becoming bishop he was the Principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge.

Early life and education[edit]

He was brought up in Horsham and attended Forest School for Boys and Collyer's Sixth form College, then the University of Manchester where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in theology with first class honours, and in 1989 was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) under the supervision of Professor Richard Bauckham. He studied for ordination at St John's College, Nottingham.

Ordained ministry[edit]

He was made a deacon at Petertide 1988 (3 July) by Michael Adie, Bishop of Guildford,[1] and ordained a priest the following Petertide (2 July 1989) by David Wilcox, Bishop of Dorking — both times at Guildford Cathedral,[2] and served as curate at Christ Church, Epsom Common in the Diocese of Guildford.[3] In 1992, he moved to become chaplain of Royal Holloway, University of London until 1997. He then became director of the Southern Theological Education and Training Scheme; a position he relinquished in 2001. He had been made an honorary canon of Guildford Cathedral in 1999. He was later the principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge.[4]

He was a member of the Church of England Liturgical Commission from 1999 to 2006, and was involved in revising the ordination services and the Common Worship daily prayer compilation. He is the current chair of the Faith and Order Commission of the General Synod.

Episcopal ministry[edit]

His nomination for the appointment as Bishop of Coventry on the retirement of Colin Bennetts was announced on 3 March 2008.[5][6] He was formally elected by the cathedral chapter in May 2008, following the issue of a congé d'elire by Elizabeth II on 6 May 2008.[7] He was consecrated as a bishop on 3 July 2008 in Southwark Cathedral[8] by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury;[9] and was enthroned on 1 November 2008.[10][11] He was the youngest serving diocesan bishop at the time of his appointment,[6] and retained that distinction until late 2014. He entered the House of Lords, as a Lord Spiritual, on 9 November 2012.

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Charlotte, daughter of David Pytches (former diocesan Bishop of Chile, Bolivia & Peru), and they have five sons.


On 15 July 2009, Cocksworth was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity, Honoris Causa, of the University of London. The award was conferred by Royal Holloway, University of London, at a ceremony held in the college’s chapel. The University of London awards honorary degrees to those of conspicuous merit, outstanding in their field, or those who have given exceptional service to the university. Cocksworth was honoured for his services to education – particularly higher education – and to the church as well as for his service to Royal Holloway.[12]


Cocksworth has written widely on theological matters, with some of his books including:

  • Renewing Daily Prayer: An Introduction to Celebrating Common Prayer (1992)
  • Evangelical Eucharistic Thought in the Church of England (1993)
  • An Anglican Companion, with Alan Wilkinson (1996)
  • Holy, Holy, Holy, Worshipping the Trinitarian God (1997)
  • Prayer and the Departed (1997)
  • Common Worship: An Introduction (2001)
  • Wisdom: The Spirit's Gift (2003)
  • Being a Priest Today: Exploring Priestly Identity, with Rosalind Brown (2002, 2nd ed. 2006)
  • Holding Together: Gospel, Church and Spirit (2008), which was nominated for the 2011 Michael Ramsey Book Prize.[13]


  • The Reverend Christopher Cocksworth (1988–1989)
  • The Reverend Doctor Christopher Cocksworth (1989–1999)
  • The Reverend Canon Doctor Christopher Cocksworth (1999–2008)
  • The Right Reverend Doctor Christopher Cocksworth (2008–present)


  1. ^ "Ordinations". Church Times (#6543). 8 July 1988. p. 13. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 30 May 2017 – via UK Press Online archives.
  2. ^ "Ordinations". Church Times (#6596). 14 July 1989. p. 15. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 30 May 2017 – via UK Press Online archives.
  3. ^ Cocksworth, Christopher John. Who's Who. 2017 (November 2016 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 30 May 2017. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  4. ^ Crockfords on-line accessed 24 March 2008
  5. ^ Number 10 — Diocese of Coventry[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b Diocese of Coventry Press Release regarding Cocksworth's appointment Archived 16 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "No. 58694". The London Gazette. 9 May 2008. p. 7105.
  8. ^ Start the Week—Consecration of the new Bishop of Coventry Archived 8 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Coventry Cathedral newsletter, 27 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-30
  9. ^ [ Diocese of Coventry — A Humble Moment by Jeremy Begbie] (Archived 15 October 2008; archive retrieved 4 September 2018) & Ely Diocese — Consecration of Bishop of Huntingdon (Archived 7 March 2012; archive retrieved 14 August 2017)
  10. ^ "The New Bishop Of Coventry". Diocese of Coventry. Archived from the original on 11 June 2008. Retrieved 18 November 2008.
  11. ^ "Welcome to the new Bishop of Coventry". Coventry Telegraph. 3 November 2008. Retrieved 18 November 2008.
  12. ^ "Bishop to receive prestigious honour". Diocese of Coventry. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  13. ^ Search results for Christopher J. Cocksworth at Worldcat. Retrieved 2008-08-07
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Colin Bennetts
Bishop of Coventry