Diocese of Portsmouth

    First lay chaplain to Mayor of Winchester

    9 May 2023

    STEPHEN Campion, a Licensed Lay Minister, has made history in being appointed as the chaplain to the Mayor of Winchester. Until now the position has always been held by members of the clergy. The Winchester mayoralty, which serves most of Hampshire, has a rich history dating back to 1200, when Winchester was the capital of Wessex and England.

    Stephen has been licensed in the benefice of Wickham and Shedfield since 2001 and has become good friends with the new Mayor, Angela Clear, who is also a member of the benefice. He was thrilled and humbled to receive the invitation to serve as the Mayor's chaplain.

    The role of the Mayor’s chaplain is mainly ceremonial, but there is a spiritual side to it as well. This includes offering prayers before council meetings and providing spiritual support to the Mayor when needed.

    As a retired NHS manager, Stephen is excited to be the first lay person appointed to this important role. Lay ministry is distinct from ordained ministry, and lay ministers serve as bridges between congregants and clergy, making Stephen the perfect fit for this position.

    Stephen Campion with his incumbent Rev Jane Isaac and her husband David
    Stephen Campion (centre) with his incumbent Rev Jane Isaac and her husband David

    It’s important for the Mayor’s chaplain to be a focal point for all religious and faith groups in the area and to advise the Mayor on religious matters. Attending services of other faiths is an important part of the Mayor's duty to serve all people in the area.

    Stephen is committed to supporting the Mayor as she connects with people of all faiths and none. He will preach on ‘Mayor’s Sunday’ at Winchester Cathedral as his first duty, and although he admits to feeling nervous, he considers it an enormous privilege and is excited to see what the rest of the year will bring.