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New Chapter Canons at Norwich Cathedral

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Both the Revd Catherine and Marie-Lyse joined the Chapter in the new year, during the lockdown, and were legally installed as members of Chapter on Zoom by the Diocesan Registrar in February.

Marie-Lyse, will receive her license as a Lay Canon from the Bishop and then be installed by the Dean in the Cathedral during Evensong at 3.30 pm on Sunday 25 April.

Marie-Lyse said: “I have been in Norwich for seven years now and I can now say that God has guided me to my purpose in this world. I survived the Genocide in Rwanda 26 years ago and I knew that I was given a second chance to live because I was meant to serve God but didn’t know how?

“I am honoured to be the Lay Canon at Norwich Cathedral as I see myself being the link between the community and the Cathedral, to those with faith and those with none. The Cathedral is the house of God, my role as Lay Canon is to bring to the people of Norwich and Norfolk at large what the cathedral represents which is healing, hope, and joy.

The Revd Catherine Dobson, Rector of the Coastal Group of Parishes on the North Norfolk coast and Rural Dean for St Benet at Waxham & Tunstead Deanery, was already an Honorary Canon and as such had been installed in the Cathedral previously, she will be informally welcomed as a member of Chapter at Choral Evensong on Sunday 16 May.

Catherine said:I am passionate about the rural church as a vital part of the community, and making church relevant, accessible, and inclusive. My role on the Cathedral Chapter is to bring a voice from the wider Diocese and to represent the College of Canons. It will be an honour and a pleasure to be part of the Cathedral Chapter and to work alongside the Dean and Chapter in this way.” 

The Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich said:

“I am glad to appoint Marie-Lyse and Catherine to their roles in the Chapter to further develop the diverse team leading our Mother Church in this diocese. May they discover joy in their service to the Chapter and to the Cathedral community across Norfolk and Waveney as they seek to make Jesus known.”

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, said:

“On behalf of the Chapter, I would like to thank Bill Armstrong and Ian Bentley for the wonderful service and support they have given to the Cathedral over the last few years. I am absolutely delighted that we are now welcoming Catherine and Marie-Lyse to serve in their place and they will both bring many gifts to the life of the Cathedral and help us to reach out into the wider community and diocese.”


What is the Cathedral Chapter and a Chapter Canon?

The Cathedral Chapter is the governing body of the Cathedral and is made up of the following people: The Dean, four Residentiary Canons, one Chapter Canon, and three Lay Canons.

The Chapter Canon is an Honorary Canon who has their main ministry elsewhere in the diocese and the three Lay Canons all give of their time in a voluntary capacity. All of the Canons, whether lay or ordained are part of a larger body called the College of Canons (which is made up of 24 Honorary Canons and 12 Lay Canons from all over the diocese)

The Lay Canons serve for a maximum of six years on Chapter and just recently Bill Armstrong completed his time in office and the Bishop has appointed Marie-Lyse Numuhoza to take his place on Chapter. Also recently, Archdeacon Ian Bentley, who had been the Chapter Canon for several years, stood down and the Bishop has appointed the Revd Canon Catherine Dobson to serve in his place.

The Lay Canons bring a variety of skills and expertise to the life of the Chapter and the Chapter Canon brings the breadth of experience of a Parish Priest and in the case of the Revd Catherine, of a Rural Dean, which all helps the Cathedral to fulfill its role of Mother Church, serving the diocese.