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Special day of services to bid farewell to the Dean of Norwich

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A day of special services took place at Norwich Cathedral to bid farewell to the Dean of Norwich who is retiring after 42 years in ministry including eight years in Norwich.

The Very Revd Jane Hedges became the first female Dean of Norwich in the Cathedral’s 900-year history in 2014, and her time at Norwich Cathedral was celebrated on Sunday 1 May with a Farewell Eucharist and a Festal Evensong with Norwich Cathedral Choir.

Much of the music for the services was chosen by the Dean, including John Rutter’s ‘This is the day,’ which was also sung at the Dean’s installation at Norwich Cathedral in June 2014.

In the Dean’s sermon at the Farewell Eucharist, she said: “As the Cathedral looks to the future my prayer is that these aspects of its life will never change: its prayer, its worship, its hospitality and its education.

“However, my prayer will also be for constant change: for a spirit of openness to new ideas, embracing new people, developing new projects, and above all to recognising the risen Christ in all who come through the doors of this place and being ready to be changed by him from one degree of glory to another.”

The Dean also took part in an interview with the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, during the Festal Evensong.

The Revd Dr Peter Doll, Norwich Cathedral’s Canon Librarian and Vice Dean, will be the acting Dean until the new Dean of Norwich is appointed. He said the Cathedral had been blessed by the leadership of the Very Revd Jane Hedges and that the Cathedral community would work together to honour and build on the powerful legacy left by the Dean.

Under the Dean’s tenure, Norwich Cathedral has, among many other things, seen the completion of the Cathedral’s sustainable lighting project From Darkness To Light, raised more than £2.5m for the They Shall Laugh and Sing Music Appeal to fund a major restoration of the Cathedral’s organ and support the Cathedral’s choral music, and hosted the major touring Natural History Museum exhibition Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure.

The Very Revd Jane Hedges was ordained Deaconess in 1980, Deacon in 1987 and Priest in 1994. She was the first woman to be appointed a Residentiary Canon in the Church of England, serving as Canon Pastor at Portsmouth Cathedral. In 2006 she became the first female Canon at Westminster Abbey, moving from there in 2014 to become the 39th Dean of Norwich.

The Dean, who is retiring just after her 67th birthday and coming up to having served 42 years in ministry, will be moving to Northumberland with her husband Chris.