Most Revd Stephen Cottrell

Born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, in 1958, Stephen Cottrell was educated at Belfairs High School, Leigh-on-Sea, and the Polytechnic of Central London. He found faith as a teenager through the work of youth organisations in his local church.

After a brief spell working in the film industry, he began training for ministry at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, in 1981 and was ordained deacon at the age of 26. He later studied for an MA with St Mellitus College. After a ministry in the dioceses of London and Chichester, he then moved to West Yorkshire, as Diocesan Missioner and Bishop’s Chaplain for Evangelism in the Diocese of Wakefield and in 1998 he took up the role of Springboard Missioner and Consultant in Evangelism. During his time in the diocese he adopted Huddersfield Town as his team alongside his beloved Spurs.

In 2001, he was called south to become Canon Pastor of Peterborough Cathedral and three years later was consecrated as Bishop of Reading. He became Bishop of Chelmsford in 2010.

Author of more than 20 books including children’s books, he enjoys poetry, music and art. His 2013 book on the artist Stanley Spencer, Christ in the Wilderness, prompted a podcast reflection with Russell Brand, discussing the crucifixion and resurrection. In his most recent book, Dear England, Stephen Cottrell writes a letter to the country on why the Christian narrative still makes sense today.

He has undertaken several pilgrimages, including twice walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, as well as pilgrim routes in England including to his future See in York.

Stephen was announced as the 98th Archbishop of York on 17 December 2019.

Stephen is married to Rebecca who is a potter, and they have three sons.

Canon Dr Mark Powley

Mark read Theology as an undergraduate at the University of Nottingham before further graduate studies at Oxford University during his time at Wycliffe Hall. He has a background in secondary education teaching, youth work and contemporary worship. He served as Assistant Curate of St Mary Magdalen with St Martin in Croydon and Associate Pastor at St Paul’s Hammersmith before becoming Associate Rector of St George’s Leeds. Mark was responsible for the launch of St Barnabas Theological Centre in 2013 and in 2015 was appointed Principal of The Yorkshire Ministry Course; since January 2017 he has been Principal of St Hild College, formed by the merger of the two. Currently, Mark works with the Vice Principals to provide overall leadership of St Hild College. He leads modules in Biblical Theology and Leadership. In 2020 Mark completed a PhD with Kings College London on the presence of God in corporate worship. He lives in north Leeds with his wife Ailsa and their four children.


  • 4Life: God’s Values for Living (Harpenden: Cell UK, 2005)
  • The Big Story: Bible Reading Guide (Harpenden: Cell UK, 2007)
  • Consumer Detox (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010)
  • “Vocation and Resurrection” in Gavin Wakefield and Nigel Rooms (ed.), Northern Gospel, Northern Church (Durham: Sacristy, 2016)

Rt Revd Dr Toby Howarth

Toby Howarth was born in Kenya and went to school at Haverstock Comprehensive School in North London. He received scholarships to study at high school and Yale University in the United States, including a summer teaching Afghan refugees in northern Pakistan. On coming back to Britain, he worked as a research assistant for the Reverend Dr John Stott for two years before becoming a postman in the East End of London.

After ordination training for the Church of England in Oxford, Birmingham and Uganda, combining Christian theology with an MA in Islamic Studies at the University of Birmingham, he served in an inner-city parish in Derby. Subsequent to this he moved to India with his family where they lived for five years, during which he researched Islamic preaching for a PhD from the Free University of Amsterdam.

Returning to Europe, he worked in inter-faith relations in Rotterdam before moving back to Birmingham where he taught Islamic studies and served as a Tutor and then Vice Principal at Crowther Hall in Selly Oak.

In 2004 he took up parish work again as Vicar of St Christopher’s, Springfield, a church in a majority Muslim area of the city. In addition to the parish role, Toby was the Bishop of Birmingham’s Adviser on Inter Faith Relations until April 2011 when he became Interreligious Affairs Secretary for the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was consecrated as Bishop of Bradford in 2014.

Toby is married to Henriette, who is also ordained and they have three children. They like travelling together, particularly linking up with friends across Britain, Europe and further away. On a day off or holiday Toby enjoys visiting a museum or gallery, reading a novel, playing music, camping or going for a bird-watching walk or cycle ride.