The Diocese of Chester

Jesus said: 'you have not chosen Me; I have chosen you.  Go and bear fruit that will last.' (John 15:16)

The Diocese of Chester is in the province of York in the Church of England, part of the global Anglican Communion.  We are linked with the Anglican Church of Melanesia in the Solomon Islands and the Dioceses of Aru and Boga in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Church of England comprises two Provinces, Canterbury and York. Each province is broken down into dioceses. There are 41 in England (42 including the Diocese in Europe).

Chester Diocese

Map – OS Opendata. Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2017 Ordnance Survey

The Diocese of Chester was created in 1541 and assumed roughly its present dimensions in 1880. 

It covers an area of 1025 square miles, approximately the old Victorian County of Chester, including parts which subsequently became absorbed into Merseyside and Greater Manchester. The Rivers Mersey and Tame approximately delineate the boundary with Liverpool and Manchester.  There are areas of dense urban population, mainly in the north, stretching from Birkenhead to East Manchester.  There are prosperous suburban regions of West and South Wirral, Chester and south of Manchester, with a mainly rural heartland, bounded by the Derbyshire Pennines and the Welsh Border.  The overall population is around 1.6 million.

There are three Bishops. The Bishop of Chester Peter Forster, The Bishop of Birkenhead Keith Sinclair, and The Bishop of Stockport Libby Lane.

The Cathedral for the Diocese is in Chester

Chester Cathedral

The Diocese is divided into two archdeaconries: Chester covering the western half and Macclesfield the eastern, each with nine deaneries.  There are 273 parishes, about 100 of which can be described as rural.  Compared with many dioceses, there are few teams, and few multi-parish benefices. There are approximately 231 stipendiary clergy.  The ministry of Readers and Pastoral Workers is important, with over 400 licensed. The role of self-supporting ministers is increasing, with over 80 in post at present.

The Bishops and Archdeacons with the 2016 Deacons

Roughly speaking, the Archdeaconry of Macclesfield covers that part of the diocese to the east of the M6, plus the area around Crewe and Nantwich. The Archdeaconry of Chester covers the rest of the diocese to the west of the M6. Each archdeaconry has a broad mix of urban and rural parishes. The Archdeacon of Chester lives in Chester, and the Archdeacon of Macclesfield lives in Congleton. Both now work from Church House, Daresbury.

Church