Bishop McMahon was born on 17th June 1936 in Dorking, Surrey
and grew up in Old Harlow. He was educated at St. Bede’s Grammar School, Manchester,
before training for the priesthood at St. Sulpice, Paris. He was ordained on 28th
November 1959 at Wonersh, Surrey.
He was appointed an assistant priest in Colchester, where he served for five years.
From 1964-1969 he was appointed to Westcliff-on-Sea, and then became parish priest
of Stock (where he continues to live as parish priest). From 1972-1980 he served
as Chaplain to Essex University. He was a member of the National Ecumenical Commission.
On 17th July 1980 Cardinal Basil Hume, OSB consecrated him Bishop of Brentwood.
He has been a member of the International Commission for English in the Liturgy
(representing the Bishops of England and Wales on the Episcopal Board) from 1983
He is a member of the Bishops’ Department for Christian Life and Worship, serving
as Chairman of the Pastoral Liturgy Committee from 1983 to 1997, and Chairman of
the Church Music Committee from 1997 to 2001. He was appointed Chairman of the Patrimony
Committee in 2001. Represents the Bishops’ Conference on the Council of St. George’s
House, Windsor – 2005. He was appointed as a Vice-President of Historic Churches Preservation Trust in 2007.
As well as Liturgy, he is also very interested in Ecumenism and was Chairman of
the Brentwood Diocesan Ecumenical Commission in 1979. Brentwood is the only diocese
in the country with boundaries that are co-terminous to the Anglican Church and
there is very close co-operation on both a personal and pastoral level between the
Brentwood has three ecumenical parishes where there is shared ownership of the church
between denominations; two shared primary schools; and there is also a joint pilgrimage
each year to Bradwell. Bishop McMahon is a member of Churches Together in Essex
and East London, serving as Chairman from 1984 to 1993.
He is a member of the London Church Leaders Group and the East of England Churches
Together. He was installed as an Honorary Ecumenical Canon of Chelmsford Cathedral
in May 2005.
Bishop McMahon is a Patron of a number of groups and organisations, notably Vice-President
of Pax Christi since 1987. He was a founder member of the Movement for Christian
Democracy and together with Lord Alton visited refugee camps and homes in Albania
in September 1999. He is also a Vice President of The Friends of Cathedral Music.
Bishop McMahon takes special interest in all areas of pastoral work. He has been
involved with various developments in the diocese, including the establishment of
the Justice and Peace Commission; Social Welfare Commission; Youth Commission; the
Diocesan Pastoral Centre at New Hall; and the Diocesan House of Prayer at Brentwood.
The Bishop has also initiated a number of programmes in the diocese, such as the
Diocesan Renewal Programme ‘Movement for a Better World’ (1982); Ministry to Priests
Programme (1984); a Ten Year Pastoral Plan for the diocese leading up to the year
2000 and, in Advent 2004, the diocesan Vision 'Put out into the Deep'.
He was responsible for the building of the diocesan offices ‘Cathedral House’ in
Brentwood (1982), followed by the building of a new Cathedral in 1989 by classical
architect Quinlan Terry. It is the first Cathedral to be built in the classical
style since St. Paul’s. The Bishop has also founded a Cathedral and Choral Trust
and extended the Choir School (2000).
His wide involvement in the life of the county of Essex was recognised when in 1991
he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University of Essex and in 1992 elected
President of the Essex Show. He is a member of the Court of both the University
of Essex and the North East London University.
In 2000 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Anglia Polytechnic University and
in 2004 was elected Honorary Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford (where his twin
brother, John, was Dean and Tutor in Law for six years prior to his death in 1969).
In July 2005 the Bishop celebrated his
Silver Jubilee with a Mass in Brentwood Cathedral,
attended by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, 27 bishops and 120 priests (read more).
His personal hobbies and interests include music, reading, art, architecture, tennis
and walking. Mayhew McCrimmon have published two of his books: “The Mass Explained”
and “Altar Servers’ Handbook”.