Drum roll please … new dean announced – all the way from New Zealand … via Canterbury Cathedral
HM The Queen has named The Venerable Jo Kelly-Moore, Archdeacon of Canterbury as the next Dean of St Albans.
Dean-Elect Jo’s appointment follows the departure of the Very Revd Jeffrey John who was Dean from 2003 to 2020 and who is now serving as an Anglican Chaplain in Paris.
Speaking about the appointment, the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, said:
“This is a timely moment to welcome a new Dean to the Cathedral and the Diocese after eighteen months of lockdown. Jo brings outstanding experience to our Cathedral from Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand and from a leading post in the Church of England as Archdeacon of Canterbury – a key post in the ministry of Canterbury Cathedral with its international dimension.
“That makes Dean Jo well placed to build on the legacy of Dean Jeffrey in establishing public understanding of St Albans Cathedral as the home of Britain’s First Saint, St Alban.
“She will commend herself to the community in St Albans and more widely in the diocese and beyond through her warmth and the sense of quiet command that she conveys.
I warmly welcome her.”
As a former parish priest in New Zealand, a parishioner brought her back a small wooden mouse as a memento from a pilgrimage all the way to St Albans Cathedral, which she still keeps.
Dean-Elect Jo said:
“St Albans Cathedral is a place of welcome and engagement for all people whether they come to visit, learn, worship, volunteer, enjoy the magnificent historic building, pray, listen to a concert, see an exhibition, enjoy our grounds, or eat and drink in ‘the Abbot’s Kitchen’.
“I want to see all those roles continue to grow, develop and adapt to the world into which we are emerging as we get to grips with what we all hope will be a post-Covid world.
“The contribution that cathedrals make to their communities is not just spiritual but social and economic too, affirmed by the recent report from ECORYS to the Association of English Cathedrals.
“What underlies the whole of that contribution is the invitation to visit a place steeped in centuries of prayer, history and community, the store of which is increased daily and through our active engagement in the life of our city and counties.”
“This is a fantastic appointment. Jo has been a real gift to Canterbury Diocese and she will be sorely missed. She navigates the complexities of the Church of England with humour, grace and skill and her commitment to the gospel of Christ is evident in her life.”
The Revd Dr Kevin Walton, Acting Dean said: “It is a very great delight to welcome Jo to the community of St Albans Cathedral as our new Dean, and we very much look forward to her contributing to the life, worship, and mission of this special place. Our prayers are very much with Jo and her husband Paul as she prepares to join us.”
Before ordination, Jo practiced as a solicitor in both New Zealand and London. She is married to Paul and they have two adult sons. She is an avid participant in Parkrun and hopes to participate in St Albans’ Parkrun once she has settled in to St Albans.
The Dean-Elect is expected to be installed in the Cathedral to begin her ministry towards the end of the year.