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New Dean of Norwich installed at special service

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The new Dean, who was previously the Interim Dean of Gloucester, officially began his new role at the helm of Norwich Cathedral during a special Institution and Installation Service.

It was a welcome return to Norfolk for the new Dean, 51, who was ordained at Norwich Cathedral in 1998 and spent his first ten years of public ministry in the Diocese of Norwich.

Following the service, the new Dean said: “I am very touched by the wonderfully warm welcome I and my family have received from so many people across the life of the Cathedral, city, county and diocese. I look forward to developing Norwich Cathedral’s rich tradition of being a place of worship, welcome and learning open to all. It provides both common space and holy ground from which to serve our communities as we seek to love God and love our neighbours as ourselves.”

Welcome and hospitality were the defining themes of the new Dean’s first sermon at the Cathedral, as he reflected on how Norwich and Norfolk have a long history of hospitality, and how hospitality is about far more than simply sharing a place.

He said: “Particularly from the mid-sixteenth century, those fleeing religious persecution in Europe were welcomed here. They in turn shared their gifts and culture, leaving their mark in everything from Dutch gables to the yellow canaries that now adorn the stands at Carrow Road. That history reminds us that hospitality is about far more than sharing a place. It also involves the hospitality of the mind, and the hospitality of the heart. The hospitality of the mind in learning from the experience and insights of others. The hospitality of the heart in giving and receiving love and care in a spirit of mutual service.”

The new Dean spoke of how people and community were at the heart of the future of Norwich Cathedral.

He 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.”

Norfolk dignitaries and clergy from across the country were among the several hundred people to attend the occasion. The service, with music sung by Norwich Cathedral Choir, moved as a pilgrimage through the Cathedral from west to east and saw the new Dean clothed in the Dean’s historic Birkbeck Cope before being symbolically seated in the Dean’s stall in the Choir. The new Dean also greeted those with whom he will be working in ecumenical partnership in Norfolk.

The readings during the service were Genesis 28. 10-17 and John I. 43-51 and hymns included Purify my heart, O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, Brothersisterlet me serve you, The Lord’s my shepherd, and Angel-voices ever singing.

Ordained in Norwich Cathedral 25 years ago, the new Dean of Norwich served his curacy in the parishes of Ranworth with Panxworth, Woodbastwick, South Walsham and Upton. In 2001, he was appointed Rector of Cringleford and Colney, taking up the additional role of Rural Dean of Humbleyard in 2004.

In 2008, he was appointed Diocesan Missioner in the Diocese of Gloucester and, in 2013, he became Canon Missioner of Gloucester Cathedral and Diocesan Director of Mission and Ministry, before being commissioned as Interim Dean of Gloucester in April 2022.

The Dean of Norwich is married to Victoria and they have two teenage children.

His appointment follows the retirement of the Very Revd Jane Hedges, the 39th Dean of Norwich, in May 2022.

A recording of the Installation of the new Dean of Norwich can be viewed on the Norwich Cathedral Services YouTube Channel and the full text of the Dean of Norwich’s sermon is available on the Norwich Cathedral website.