The Diocese of Southwark is presided over by the Bishop of Southwark who is assisted by three Area Bishops. Each Area contains two Archdeaconries and Archdeacons assist the Bishops in leading the Church in the Diocese. The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun was enthroned at Southwark Cathedral on 6 March 2011 as the 10th Bishop of Southwark. The Diocesan Secretary is the lead officer within the Diocesan administrative structure to help serve the parishes and people of the Diocese.
The Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun
Bishop Christopher read modern history at the University of Oxford, before training for the priesthood. He served curacies at St Michael & All Angels, Sandhurst and St Mary, Portsea. In 1989 he became Chaplain and Minor Canon at St Paul’s Cathedral as well as Vocations Adviser in the Diocese of London.
Appointed in 1993 as Rector of St Dunstan & All Saints, Stepney, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, he served as Area Dean and held a number of ex-officio posts on the governing bodies of various Trusts and Church Schools and remains a Patron of Tower Hamlets Mission.
After four years as Archdeacon of Northolt, he was consecrated Bishop in Southwark Cathedral in 2005, taking up his appointment as Area Bishop of Woolwich and more widely from 2008 as Bishop for Urban Life and Faith.
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 local communities, including the need to proclaim the Gospel afresh amid the rapid changes in church and community life.
Bishop Christopher maintains a keen interest in the Holy Land and is a trustee of the Balfour Project and Embrace the Middle East as well as Friends of the Holy Land.
In December 2014 he was introduced to the House of Lords as one of the 26 Lords Spiritual where he speaks on a wide range of issues including immigration, overseas development and foreign affairs.
The Bishop of Southwark’s Chaplain is Revd Alun Ford.
The Bishop of Kingston, The Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham
Bishop Richard has been serving the wonderfully diverse part of London between Kingston and Waterloo which is Kingston Episcopal Area since 2002 but has known the area much longer as he grew up in Surbiton from the age of 11. He attended church first at Christ Church, Surbiton, and then at Emmanuel, Tolworth, where he helped to run the youth club, and was also a pupil at Kingston Grammar School.
Bishop Richard read physics and philosophy at the University of Oxford, stayed to do a PGCE and then taught science at a large comprehensive school in North Yorkshire. He moved from there to teach physics at Eton College and then to become an investment analyst in London, attending St James, New Malden during this time.
He was ordained Deacon in 1987 and Priest in 1988, serving his title in Newcastle and then moving to St Augustine’s, Limbury, near Luton. He became Archdeacon of St Albans in 1999 and, in the same year, King’s College, London awarded him a PhD for his thesis on collective worship.
Bishop Richard is now Whitelands Professorial Fellow in Christian Theology and Contemporary Issues at the University of Roehampton and an Honorary Research Fellow at King’s College, London.
He has a lifelong interest in how the Christian faith embraces the major issues which impact on the world today. He is deeply involved in exploring the relationship between religion and science, is co-Director of the Templeton-funded project, “Equipping Christian leadership in an age of science” and is very happy to talk with groups and schools who would like a better understanding of the issues. He is also very interested in how we can live well together despite having different world views and faiths and is Southwark’s lead bishop for inter faith. When he was Co-Chair and then Anglican President of the Christian Muslim Forum, Kingston Episcopal Area piloted the church-mosque twinning arrangements which are now part of a national framework.
Bishop Richard is also very committed to the environment and climate change and is an ex-member of the Church of England’s Working Group. As lead bishop in the Diocese for the Environment, he is active in supporting Southwark’s progress towards Eco Diocese status and in encouraging parishes to achieve Eco Church awards. One particularly exciting development is the pioneering church which is being developed at the Garden Museum, St Mary’s Lambeth, and will focus on the environment through the 5th Mark of Mission.
The Dioceses of Matabeleland and Jerusalem are very important to him and he keeps in close contact with both Bishop Cleophas and Archbishop Suheil. In recent years two members of the Area’s clergy have served in Jerusalem: Revd Canon David Longe went from North Lambeth Parish to be Archbishop Suheil’s chaplain, and Revd Canon Richard Sewell, previously Team Rector in Barnes, is now Dean of St George’s College, Jerusalem. Bishop Richard considers it a privilege to lead on the development of companion links in the Diocese and the recent Covenant between Jerusalem and Southwark is testimony to our intention of deepening them in the coming years.
He is married to Felicity and they have a son, daughter and five grandchildren. He has been an inveterate hockey player, playing in the England u-19s, Oxford University and British Universities’ teams as well as many others since, and today enjoys tennis, walking, theatre and cinema.
The Bishop of Woolwich, The Rt Revd Dr Karowei Dorgu
Bishop Karowei was ordained Deacon in 1995 and Priest in 1996. His curacy was at St Mark, Tollington Park, followed by, in 1998, building the community of faith at St John, Upper Holloway, before being consecrated Bishop of Woolwich in 2017.
Born and brought up in Nigeria, Bishop Karowei worked as a medical doctor before ordination. He studied theology (BA Hons) at London Bible College (now LST). He trained for ordained ministry at Oak Hill College, Southgate, and undertook his postgraduate theological research for MA Missiology at All Nations College, Ware. He is keen to share the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. He has a deep concern for mission and regularly led open-air evangelism in his parish which saw his church grow remarkably.
Bishop Karowei also has a keen interest in training candidates for lay and ordained ministry. He has been involved with theological training as a tutor on a couple of training programmes. He was for many years Assistant Director of Post Ordination Training in Stepney Area.
He was a Prebendary of St Paul’s Cathedral before his appointment as Bishop of Woolwich. He was also involved in the life of the Church Primary School in the parishes in which he served as Chair of Governors, Vice Chair, and supporting staff and pupils as Chaplain.
Bishop Karowei is married to Mosun who is a Consultant Child Psychiatrist; they have a grown-up son, Timi. His interests include personal fitness, reading and cooking for others. He enjoys travel and discovering new places and cultures. He plays tennis, cycles and visits the gym. He is a keen supporter of Arsenal Football Club.
The Bishop of Croydon, The Rt Revd Dr Rosemarie Mallett
Rosemarie trained for ministry at the South Eastern Institute for Theological Education (SEITE, now known as St Augustine’s College) and was ordained in 2004. She served her curacy at Christ Church, Brixton in the Diocese of Southwark and was appointed Priest-in-Charge of St John, Angell Town in 2007, becoming Vicar in 2013; the same year in which she also became an Honorary Canon of Southwark Cathedral. Rosemarie was Archdeacon of Croydon from March 2020 until her consecration as Bishop of Croydon in June 2022.
Rosemarie has been a member of the General Synod of the Church of England since 2010. Prior to ordination, she obtained a PhD in sociology and worked as a senior researcher and honorary lecturer and in the field of BAME mental health.
Archdeacon of Lambeth, The Venerable Simon Gates
Simon was born in 1960 and studied at St John’s College, Cranmer Hall, University of Durham. He was ordained Deacon in 1987 and Priest in 1988 and served his title at St John’s Southall, in London Diocese.
He then became Associate Minister of St Andrew, Kowloon in Hong Kong for four years before moving to the Diocese of Southwark. He was Vicar of St Thomas with St Stephen, Telford Park, for 17 years and Area Dean of Lambeth South Deanery. Before he was ordained Simon taught English at an Anglican school in Macau.
He is married to Helen, who is a self-employed HR consultant, and has three children. He enjoys hiking, his allotment, and cooking for others.
Simon was installed as Archdeacon of Lambeth in Southwark Cathedral on Sunday 29 September 2013.
Archdeacon of Lewisham & Greenwich, The Venerable Alastair Cutting
Alastair was born in 1960, and grew up in South India where four generations of his family lived and worked for nearly a century. His parents were doctors at a rural hospital; he subsequently spent a gap year working with the Salvation Army in South India, between school and a teaching and youth work degree at the University of Birmingham.
After theological college at St John’s Nottingham and ordination in 1987 and a couple of curacies in the Diocese of Sheffield, Alastair served in London and Chichester Dioceses before moving to Southwark. He has served as Pro-Prolocutor of the Province of Canterbury of the General Synod; and is a member of the Church of England Evangelical Council.
Alastair’s Master’s dissertation was on Maori and Celtic spirituality. He is a keen musician, an average busking keyboard player and has an interest in the arts and film. He is married to Kay, and they have two grown-up daughters; the family has strong links with New Zealand.
Alastair was installed as Archdeacon of Lewisham and Greenwich in Southwark Cathedral on Sunday 14 April 2013.
Archdeacon of Reigate, The Venerable Moira Astin
Moira was born in 1965 and grew up in Staines, North Surrey. She went to Clare College, Cambridge, where she studied Natural Sciences. After some years working in computing, she went to Wycliffe Hall, Oxford to train for ordained ministry.
Her curacy was at Newbury in West Berkshire, in Oxford Diocese, followed by five years as Team Vicar in nearby Thatcham. She was then Vicar of St James in Woodley near Reading, before moving to North Lincolnshire where she served as Vicar of Frodingham and New Brumby, in the heart of Scunthorpe, and as Area Dean of North Lincolnshire.
Moira is married to Tim and they have one son, Ed. Moira enjoys bird-watching, especially trips to the Farne Islands to see puffins, and together with Tim is researching the history of the Church in this country between 400AD and 600AD
Moira was installed as Archdeacon of Reigate in Southwark Cathedral on Sunday 30 October 2016.
Archdeacon of Wandsworth, The Venerable John Kiddle
John was born and brought up in Africa. Having read maths and theology at university (and after a time as a maths teacher at Bacon’s School in Bermondsey) he was ordained Deacon in 1982 and priest in 1983, serving his curacy and first incumbency in the Diocese of Liverpool.
He then moved to the Diocese of St Albans to become Vicar of St Luke, Watford; after several years there he was appointed Diocesan Director of Mission and Residentiary Canon of St Albans Abbey.
John writes regularly for the CHP Reflections series and has worked closely with the national Christmas and Lent campaigns; most recently editing Comfort and Joy, the Church of England’s reflections for Advent and Christmas 2020. He is the Chair of the National Archdeacons Forum.
John was installed as Archdeacon of Wandsworth in Southwark Cathedral on Sunday 22 November 2015.
@johnkiddle on Twitter
Ruth Martin BA, MA, was appointed as Diocesan Secretary in the Diocese of Southwark in January 2015 (a role rather like a chief executive). Prior to this she was Managing Director of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI), the global professional body for investment professionals, and was at the CISI for 12 years. Her professional accreditations include Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Ruth is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Glovers and a Freeman of the City of London. She has been a trustee of various education-based and Christian-related charities including a former Chair of the Board of Governors of Christ’s School, the Church of England comprehensive school in Richmond, Surrey.
Ruth is a Lay Canon at Southwark Cathedral and is also a Licensed Lay Minister (Reader) in the Diocese of Southwark as well as a Street Pastor.
Ruth’s Personal Assistant for diary matters and general queries is Beverley McBean. For other matters, including governance and parish/deanery queries, please contact Ruth’s Executive Assistant Charles Hudson-Beddows.