The Very Revd Jane Hedges, who in 2014 became the first female Dean of Norwich in the Cathedral’s 900-year history, announced the news of her retirement to the Cathedral’s congregation on Sunday.
There will be a special farewell service for the Dean on Sunday 1 May 2022 and following this the Dean will be moving to Northumberland with her husband Chris at the end of that month.
At Sunday’s Sung Eucharist, the Dean told the Cathedral congregation: “I have decided that the time has come for me to retire, not just yet, but in May next year. That will be just after my 67th birthday and coming up to having served 42 years in ministry and just short of eight years here.
“For Chris and me, our years in Norwich and especially here as part of the Cathedral community have been incredibly happy ones. We love Norfolk and the people and it will be a huge wrench for us to leave. It’s important though that you and our diocese and the wider community have a Dean with lots of energy and I know that my energy levels are not quite what they were!
“Having said that, please be assured that during the next six months I am absolutely committed to fulfilling my role as Dean and together with Chapter colleagues will do everything we can to make sure that a new Dean moves into a thriving community.”
The Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, said: “As Dean Jane Hedges announces her retirement date being next May, I know that I join a great many people across the Diocese of Norwich, as well as the Cathedral community, in being immensely grateful for all that Dean Jane has brought to the life of Norwich Cathedral and her many wider networks. There will be many opportunities to thank her, as well as her husband Chris, and I know that Dean Jane will continue to lead the life of the Cathedral with her usual creativity and care over the coming months. I will shortly be working with the Archbishop of Canterbury and The Crown in discerning who God is calling to be the next Dean of Norwich.”
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. Under the Dean’s tenure, the 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 Revd Dr Peter Doll, Norwich Cathedral’s Canon Librarian and Vice Dean, will be the Cathedral’s acting Dean from May next year until the new Dean of Norwich is appointed.