Comments: First female Dean of Llandaff Cathedral quits after two months

Very, very sad to read this. There is an unhappy story behind the bare facts. Sorry that Llandaff have lost such a competent and good person so fast.

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Thursday, 9 May 2013 at 10:05pm BST

If it is true that the attitude of some Janet Henderson's colleagues played a significant part in her decision to resign; then they to should be asked to do likewise - not that this will happen since displaying blatant sexism is of course seen as being allowable in the UK's Anglican communion (at least at present)

Posted by Confused Sussex at Thursday, 9 May 2013 at 11:46pm BST

That bit about the pay for the choir seems odd without enough information. How much time did it take to do that program? Musicians are generally paid by the service and there is typically a customary fee per service. Did the Dean "volunteer" professional musicians to sing below their customary fees? If they don't have customary fees, then they don't seem particularly professional.

It doesn't seem like a reason to resign, unless the underlying communication issues were endemic.

If the resignation is because of clergy resistance to having a woman in charge, that would not speak well of those "christians." But really, it's hard to tell from this release.

Posted by Cynthia at Friday, 10 May 2013 at 12:07am BST

"There is an unhappy story behind the bare facts."

I suspected so. Some guys feel absolutely ENTITLED to their position and privileges and ENTITLED to harass and demean "the wrong sort," i.e. people who aren't like them.

It is actually quite amazing that plenty of guys have come to see the Kingdom of God in a different light, kinder, gentler, and more inclusive. I think that is a more difficult journey because it is so challenging to empathize and walk in another's shoes. Especially in the case of women, whose shoes are bound to be too small! It is easier for me, as "the other" in so many ways, to cry uncle.

Posted by Cynthia at Friday, 10 May 2013 at 6:45am BST

I knew Janet Henderson well when she was Archdeacon of Richmond in the Ripon and Leeds Diocese. She is a woman of intellect, integrity, great spirituality, vision, endless warmth and a tireless worker. She approached her new post with enthusiasm. Her position must have been made impossible for her to relinquish it. She is greatly missed here.

Posted by Ruth Grenfell at Friday, 10 May 2013 at 10:17am BST

This is very sad and disturbing news. Janet Henderson is a woman with a positive proven record of significant ministry. Many prayers are with her and I hope the strength of them will enable transparency.

Posted by Rosie Bates at Friday, 10 May 2013 at 4:26pm BST

The Bishop appoints best person he can find for the job. There'll always be some who discriminate on gender or other excuse.
But there's yet another issue waiting here to be addressed - Cathedral stakeholders refusing to knuckle down and unite in support of the ministerial leadership entrusted to the Dean by said Bishop. It's a revolt against him.
Deepest sympathies to Janet, caught in the middle. She was wise to take herself out of the story and not let church power games destroy her.
Would that more clerics in toxic situations had that sort of courage.
How can the Church In Wales now reclaim from chronic congregationalism one of its flagship churches?
With or without BBC Songs of Praise.

Posted by Keith Kimber at Friday, 10 May 2013 at 5:16pm BST

Actually we don't know ANYTHING about the reasons behind the resignation apart from some press speculation, so it's a little early to be casting aspersions! Janet is very well respected in Ripon & Leeds and a great archdeacon. As a curate I benefitted enormously from her wisdom. Whatever the reason for her resignation it is very sad that Llandaff cathedral has lost someone of such profound spiritual depth & great sense of humour.

Posted by Lindsay Southern at Friday, 10 May 2013 at 6:38pm BST

What an absolute disgrace. How will any one be able to take Llandaf diocese or cathedral seriouly after this ? And who would wish to become the next dean any time soon ?

A Church in great decline, indeed.

I hope the minister who has resigned will receive support in many forms, but had she been supported, resignation might not have been necessary.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 12:10am BST

Lindsay is right; the resignation is reported as fact; everything else is by 'sources at the cathedral' or 'sources in the church'- i.e. gossips at best, those with an axe to grind at worst. They're anonymous for a reason ...

Posted by Jonathan.Jennings at Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 9:28am BST

Former Dean Janet was welcomed by the parishioners at Llandaff - it's a parish church as well as a cathedral - and many were impressed by her personal warmth and commonsense approach.

Her resignation has stunned many, but the gender issues claimed in statements by "Church sources" are probably not the main cause of this. There are intransigent problems with Llandaff that have arisen since 2000, due to previous appointments. Keith Kimber's comments are singularly ill-informed, since the congregation - contrary to his picture of "rampant congregationalism" - actually have very little say in the running of the place.

Any institution that lives wildly beyond its means and invests in white elephants whilst ignoring the pastoral needs of its congregation - and its wider mission - deserves to fail. It is probable that Janet recognised this at a very early stage. Regrettably, we will now be denied her vision and energy. However she quickly realised the unfortunate truth of Llandaff's parlous position and we will now have to fend for ourselves.

Posted by Landavian at Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 10:49pm BST

Janet Handerson was in post as Archdeacon in North Yorkshire while I was a Church Warden. I know her to be a very warm caring person of great integrity, deep spirituality, with a wonderful ability to communicate at all levels. She will not have taken this decision lightly. She is greatly missed here and is very much in our prayers.

Posted by Rosemary Triffitt at Sunday, 12 May 2013 at 5:02pm BST

A sad decision indeed, but stability in this diocese was achieved by a moratorium on the appointment of women as priests (not as deacons or conceivably archdeacon) by previous bishops of Llandaff, which the current Archbishop proved determined to overturn, a direction he has endorsed by two key appointments made in rapid succession. Unfortunate remarks about male priests needing to accept female authority may have been provocative and have certainly proved counter-productive.

Posted by Clive Sweeting at Wednesday, 15 May 2013 at 2:56pm BST

"Unfortunate remarks about male priests needing to accept female authority may have been provocative and have certainly proved counter-productive."

So, assuming that this was the root cause for the resignation, we just have to accept that the poor chaps had no choice but to treat a new colleague so badly that she resigned within 2 months?

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 16 May 2013 at 8:56am BST

I'm chairman of the Friends of Ripon Cathedral and know Janet Henderson quite well. She is a very spiritual and profoundly religious person and would have made a wonderful Dean of any cathedral, Llandaff included.

The full story of the debacle of her departure has yet to be told of course, but I fear it reflects badly on the church community of Llandaff. If she was forced to leave because of anti-women sentiments, all I can say to those who were instrumental in her departure is: Shame on you! You have missed a God-given opportunity to widen the depth of your religious and spiritual experience, because you were earth-bound enough to consider gender of a greater significance than the Word of the Lord. I pray you will come to see, and repent, the error of your ways.

And if on the other hand the reason really *was* because the choir objected to not being paid "enough"... well, words fail me.

Posted by Toby Wallis at Monday, 24 June 2013 at 9:24pm BST
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.