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Bishops & Officers

Biographical notes for Bishops

The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun
Bishop of Southwark

Bishop Christopher

Rt Revd Christopher Chessun

Christopher Chessun was born in 1956 in Hampton, Middlesex, the elder of identical twins. He was educated at Hampton Grammar School and went on to University College Oxford where he read Modern History. He trained for the priesthood at Westcott House, Cambridge from 1980-1983, reading for Part II Theology Tripos through Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Ordained as deacon in 1983, he served his title at St Michael & All Angels, Sandhurst, before moving on in 1987 to the post of senior curate at St Mary, Portsea in Portsmouth Diocese.

In 1989 he became Chaplain and Minor Canon at St Paul's Cathedral and Vocations Adviser in the Diocese of London in 1990, staying in both these roles until 1993 when he was appointed Rector of St Dunstan & All Saints', Stepney. Between 1997 and 2001 he was Area Dean of Tower Hamlets. In Stepney he held a number of ex-officio posts on the Governing Bodies of various Trusts and Church Schools. He remains a Patron of Tower Hamlets Mission.

In April 2001 he was installed as Archdeacon of Northolt and during this time he was a Trustee of the North Thames Ministerial Training Course, Chairman of the Trustees of St George’s Chapel at Heathrow Airport and chaired the London Diocesan Schools’ Committee.

In April 2005 he was consecrated bishop in Southwark Cathedral, taking up his appointment as Area Bishop of Woolwich and Urban Bishop for the Diocese of Southwark. The Woolwich Area is linked with the Diocese of Manicaland in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe.  Bishop Christopher made an initial visit in June 2006, the first of a number of visits to strengthen the inter-diocesan links.   

In March 2011 he began public ministry as the tenth 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.

The Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham

Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham

Bishop of Kingston

When he became Bishop of Kingston in 2002, Richard Cheetham returned to the area of his childhood. He was brought up in Surbiton and his parents still live there. He attended Kingston Grammar School between 1966 and 1974, went to church in Tolworth and was confirmed in Surbiton.

He won an Open Exhibition to Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He graduated in 1977, with a Joint Honours degree in Physics and Philosophy. He was an Oxford Hockey Blue and an under 19 player for England. He followed this with a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at Corpus Christi College Oxford and then taught science at a large comprehensive school in Richmond, North Yorkshire, (1978-1980). From there he moved to be Assistant Physics Master at Eton College, Windsor (1980-1983) before becoming an investment analyst in London.

In 1985, he went to Ripon College, Cuddesdon where he obtained a Certificate in Theology and in 1987 he was ordained deacon. He served his title at Holy Cross Church, Newcastle and was priested in 1988.

In 1990, he moved to become Vicar of St Augustine of Canterbury, Limbury, Luton in the Diocese of St Albans and was Rural Dean of Luton from 1995 –1998. During this period he was founder and convenor of an ecumenical study group and a founding member of Luton SACRE. He was awarded a PhD by King College London in October 1999.

In February 1999 he became the Archdeacon of St Albans and in July 2002, he moved to Southwark when appointed Bishop of Kingston.

He is married to Felicity and they have a daughter and a son. He still plays hockey and squash regularly. His other interests include theatre, cinema and walking.

Bishop Richard is involved with a number of organisations and charities. Currently he is:
Chair of the Southwark Board of Education
President of the Kingston & Wimbledon YMCA
Patron of The Fircroft Trust
Member of the Roehampton University Council
Chair of the Christian Muslim Forum
Chair of the Continuing Ministerial Development Committee, C-of-E

A sermon preached for Accession Day 2012

Bishop Richard's website

The Rt Revd Jonathan Clark

Rt Revd Jonathan Clark

Bishop of Croydon

Bishop Jonathan was educated at Exeter University and ordained as a priest in 1989. After a curacy in Carlisle he was a chaplain at Bristol University then Director of Studies of the Southern Theological Education and Training Scheme. From 1997 to 2003 he was chaplain at the University of North London, and from 1999-2003 also Area Dean of Islington. He then moved across to Hackney as Rector of Stoke Newington until his episcopal appointment as Bishop of Croydon in 2012.

He is married to Alison, a senior lecturer at the Open University, and the couple have two grown-up children.  Outside of his church work he is a fan of Westray in the Orkney Islands, his favourite place for walking, reading and writing, and a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur football club.

The Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave

Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave

Bishop of Woolwich

Bishop Michael was consecrated at Southwark Cathedral on Thursday 21 March 2012 and was welcomed into his Episcopal Area on 29 April.

Bishop Michael is already familiar to many in the Diocese having been Archdeacon of Southwark since 2004 and Canon Missioner of Southwark Cathedral since 2010. Currently he is also Co-Chair of the Southwark and London Housing Association. Prior to this he had been the Inter Faith Relations Adviser to the Archbishops' Council and Secretary of the Churches Commission on Inter faith Relations.He was awarded the OBE in the New Year's Honours List in 2011 for services to inter faith relations in London.

Bishop Michael is married to Julia, who works at Warwick University as an academic researcher in education; they have three grown up sons.

Bishop Michael has written extensively on inter faith issues and questions of religion and human rights. He has edited six volumes on Christian-Muslim relations, is the author of Trinity and Inter Faith Dialogue (Peter Lang, 2003), and has contributed about thirty journal articles and book chapters. He has an interest in all things Japanese, and he and Julia enjoy walking and travel together.