Ringing the Changes in Our Cathedrals

30th January 2023

It was a homecoming of sorts for the Very Revd Dr Andrew Braddock who was installed as the 40th Dean of Norwich over the weekend.

Ringing the changes in our cathedrals

Andrew, the former interim Dean of Gloucester, was first ordained in Norwich Cathedral 25 years ago and spent the first ten years of his ministry in parish ministry there.

Welcome and hospitality were the twin themes of his first sermon as he reflected on how Norwich and Norfolk had a long history of hospitality, and how hospitality was about far more than simply sharing a place.

He spoke of how people and community were at the heart of the future of Norwich Cathedral and said:

“It is the way we inhabit it that will allow Norwich Cathedral to continue deepening its vocation as a place that provides both common space and holy ground; a place that enables us to deepen our encounter with God and with each other; a house of spacious hospitality with the worship of Christ at its heart.”

Photo Credit – Bill Smith

The installation of the new Dean of Norwich is the latest in a number of changes in senior clergy in our cathedrals.

The Revd Canon Andrew Zihni has been announced as the next Dean of Gloucester

Andrew will be the 39th Dean of Gloucester and is currently Canon Precentor at Southwark Cathedral, a role he has held since January 2021.

Canon Andrew Zihni said:

“I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed as the 39th Dean of Gloucester, following Stephen Lake’s faithful tenure over the past eleven years. Having grown up in the Far East with family roots in the Mediterranean, Hong Kong and Thailand, I have a passionate interest in fostering diversity, in sharing hospitality, and in building strong relationships.

As I come to Gloucester Cathedral, the call to strengthen our commitment to diversity and social justice, to take the Cathedral community deeper into prayer and worship, to grow our work with young people, and to engage with the city and the wider diocese as a beacon of hope fills me with a real sense of Gospel joy.”

Andrew will be formally installed as the new Dean of Gloucester in April this year, and until then the Right Revd Robert Springett, Bishop of Tewkesbury, will be Interim Dean.

The Dean of Wells has announced his retirement. The Very Revd John Davies’s final service will be the Festal Eucharist for Candlemas this Thursday where he will preside and preach. And the former Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges has been announced as the interim Dean of Newcastle following the retirement of the Very Revd Geoff Miller late last year.

The Dean of Worcester, the very Revd Peter Atkinson has announced his retirement.

And the Very Revd Nicholas Henshall who is swapping cathedral life as the Dean of Chelmsford for parish ministry is spending this week walking across the Diocese to arrive at the 7th century Bradwell Chapel in time to preach for the Feast of Candlemas ahead of his leaving celebration on 5 February.

The former Dean of Montreal, the Very Revd Paul Kennington has been appointed acting Dean of Chelmsford, the Rev Canon Karen Rooms, Canon Missioner at Leicester Cathedral has been appointed to act as Dean there and the retired bishop, the Rt Revd Graeme Knowles will act at Chichester.

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, former chair of the Association of English Cathedrals will retire at the end of March and his last Sunday will be 19 Feb.

You can read more about Adrian’s retirement and a special peel of bells here.

This Thursday (2 Feb) the Very Revd Christine Wilson, will preach at the service of solemn evensong for Candlemas; her last service at Lincoln Cathedral as she retires after 26 years of ordained ministry.

Having experienced, in her own words, “a strong sense of calling that wouldn’t go away”, Christine Wilson was the first woman to be ordained in the Chichester Diocese and became the first female Dean of Lincoln when she was installed in 2016.

Ringing the Changes

Managing and supporting change has been a theme throughout her ministry. During her time at Lincoln she has overseen a restoration project which includes the internationally important Romanesque Frieze and Gallery of Kings, new visitor facilities with the National Lottery-funded redevelopment of former school premises into a café, exhibition space and meeting rooms.

And more recently, the dedication of the Emergency Services Chapel at the end of last year,  the only chapel of its kind in the country dedicated to Police, Fire and Rescue, Ambulance Service and NHS in recognition of the dedication of all key workers during the covid pandemic and beyond.

Jasmit Kaur Phull JP, Sheriff of Lincoln said Dean Christine’s massive contribution to Lincoln Cathedral and the community in Lincoln would be remembered for many years to come and thanked her for her support to all Faiths.

She said:

“We know that strong women aren’t simply born, they are made by the storms they walk through.  We know that Dean Christine can handle anything that comes her way, making the sun shine even on the darkest day.  A true legend whom we will never forget.  Today a tear in each eye represents a tear of joy – for Dean Christine’s friendship – and tear of sadness for she will be missed more than words can express.”