New Dean of Chelmsford announced

28th June 2024

The Bishop of Chelmsford has announced that the next Dean of Chelmsford will be the Revd Canon Dr Jessica Martin.

New Dean of Chelmsford announced

Jessica currently serves as Residentiary Canon at Ely Cathedral and during 2024 has served as one of two theological advisers to the bishops of the Church of England.

Speaking about her appointment Canon Jessica said:

“I’m filled with excitement at the prospect of coming to be part of the Cathedral community in Chelmsford.  I hope too to play a focussed and enthusiastic part in serving the city, county and wider diocese.

These are rich and diverse overlapping communities and I am very eager to find how I may serve them. I look forward to becoming part of the steady foundation of prayer, praise and worship that the Cathedral represents and maintains, and to all that grows out from that in Christian service. 

There are relationships to make and to deepen, and a compelling vision that waits for us to discover and bring to fruition together – for which I know excellent work has already begun.  

“As I prepare to move to Chelmsford shortly after Christmas, along with my husband Francis Spufford and my younger daughter, I will be praying steadily for you all. I ask that you will pray for me too, that I may by the grace of God serve you well; and that, creatively and joyfully, we may make something beautiful of this new chapter in the life of Chelmsford Cathedral.” 

The Right Reverend Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, the Bishop of Chelmsford said:

“I am delighted that God has called Jessica to be the next Dean of Chelmsford.  She brings extensive experience of Cathedral ministry as well as great wisdom and many skills. Her appointment is good news for the Cathedral and the wider diocese and I am very much looking forward to working with her when she joins us in January.  

The Bishop also paid tribute to the Very Rev Paul Kennington whom, she said, as interim Dean, had made an outstanding contribution to the life of the Cathedral and the diocese. Paul has agreed to stay on in post until nearer the time of Jessica’s arrival.

He said:

“I am so delighted that Jessica has been appointed to be the next Dean of Chelmsford.  She brings with her not only a wealth of cathedral knowledge and understanding, but also a nationally valued theological acumen and a deep pastoral heart with a longing for sharing the Gospel.  I wish her and Francis all the very best for their transition over the coming months into the life of this Cathedral. 

The announcement was made at Chelmsford Cathedral last week and Jessica is spending the rest of the day meeting people from the Cathedral community, from churches across Chelmsford Diocese and local civic leaders. She will also be visiting the Chelmsford Cathedral School to meet with pupils and staff.

 She will begin her ministry as Dean of Chelmsford in January 2025.