Seven months from Baptism to Bishop – the rise of the Boy Bishop

Jason Kellinger. Photo by Ash Mills

Jason Kellinger. Photo by Ash Mills

Salisbury’s new Chorister Bishop, Jason Kellinger, spoke entertainingly in his sermon last Sunday, 7 December, about his high-speed promotion from newly baptised member of the church to ‘bishop’ – and revealed that next year the Chorister Bishop would be a girl.

“You should know that I was only baptised here in the Cathedral in May this year, so getting from baptism to being a Bishop in seven months is nothing short of a miracle,” said twelve year old Jason, who is from Calne in North Wiltshire, going on to tell churchgoers at the Evensong service that next year a girl would be taking on the role.

“Traditions are often good things, but some need to change with the times. I am really pleased that, now we are going to have female Bishops, the Chorister Bishop tradition is going to evolve too. At next year’s service the Chorister Bishop will be a girl for the first time, the Dean’s Chorister.”

Dressed in his replica Bishop’s robes Jason, the Cathedral’s head chorister, was given the bishop’s staff and ring by the Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, and led the congregation in prayer, as well as receiving the collection and delivering a sermon.

Reflecting on the tradition of boy bishops, which goes back hundreds of years, he discussed its value as ‘a lesson in humility and the recognition of the wisdom of youthful innocence’.