Online confirmation service for Stephen Cottrell as Archbishop of York

Stephen Cottrell was confirmed as Archbishop of York through Zoom

Stephen Cottrell was today confirmed in his election as the new Archbishop of York in a service that took place online due to coronavirus restrictions.

In his welcome, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: "We gather together today during a time of uncertainty when many are suffering, many are fearful, and the foundations of our society have been shaken by the ravages of the coronavirus. 

"The whole Church is committed to praying constantly for those who have been affected and who continue to be affected by the pandemic. 

"Jesus Himself told us to keep on praying and not to lose heart.  Into this world of challenge and change, this service seeks to offer encouragement and hope." 

Stephen Cottrell taking his oath

Confirming Cottrell, Welby spoke of the "high trust and weighty obligations" of the position as he reminded him of the promises he made when he was ordained and consecrated. 

"Bishops are called to lead in serving and caring for the people of God, and to work with them in the oversight of the Church," Welby said. 

"As chief pastors, they share with their fellow bishops a special responsibility to maintain and further the unity of the Church, to uphold its discipline and to guard its faith ... and interpreting the Gospel of Christ."

He went on to commend Cottrell as someone who is able to communicate the love of God, as he charged him to have the character that reflects Christ and be a guardian of the faith.

"Living as a Christian requires us to live not only in fellowship with Christians around the world but also with the Church throughout time, in practice that draws us into traditions and inherited patterns," he said. 

"With the Church of England, we know that some of those bring baggage. We find saints and slave traders, the proud and prelatical, with a humble servant of the people.

"They are part of us, of our inheritance, to be reformed, to be repented of, to be imitated." 

Archbishop Welby continued: "We are to be those who go out, yet we must unlearn the too often historic arrogance of the Church of England, and find a way for Church and disciples together and individually to be clothed in humility, love and forgiveness, as the world carries on on its noisy passage around us.

"Look at so-called Christian Twitter feeds to see the scale of that task. 

"Much has changed in our world in a very short amount of time but our calling and our purpose to declare the good news of Christ, who died to give us eternal life, remains eternally the same.

"And so I hope everyone will join me in praying for you." 

In his own comments, Cottrell said his confirmation was taking place at a "challenging and difficult time". 

"But I am here because I believe Jesus has called me and it will be my heart's desire and work to share that calling and that love with others, and I know there's thousands joining me here right now [online].  I look forward to meeting you properly," he said. 

Cottrell's confirmation was attended by bishops in the Church of England, including the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, the Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, and the Bishop of Winchester, Tim Dakin.

The service had been due to take place in York Minster, but in an unprecedented move, was held online due to the pandemic.