Thinking Anglicans

Appointment of Dean of Southwark

It has been announced this morning that the Bishop of Southwark has appointed the Revd Dr Mark Oakley as the next Dean of Southwark. Mark Oakley is currently Dean of Chapel and Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge.

More information below and at Southwark Cathedral.

Bishop Christopher said:

“Mark is a person of depth, insight and integrity who brings with him a wealth of priestly experience offered in many different contexts. Before St John’s he was a Canon of St Paul’s following on from service in the Diocese in Europe as Chaplain at Copenhagen and Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe. This variety of experience will equip him well for the prominent role he will now take on as Dean of Southwark and I much look forward to working with him.”

Mark will be installed Dean at Choral Evensong in Southwark Cathedral on Advent Sunday (3 December) at 3pm.

Speaking about his appointment, Mark said:

“I am very honoured, and a little daunted, to be asked to continue the ministry of the Dean of Southwark, following on from the extraordinary work and presence of Andrew Nunn. I have been grateful all my life for the existence of Southwark Cathedral, for its witness to the gospel through learning and formation, arts and the imagination, local partnerships and a commitment to social justice. I am now deeply grateful to be asked to become a part of its life and mission, and I ask for your prayers as I prepare to join the people of the cathedral and diocese. Our vocation is to embody a sacramental, poetic and just Christian faith that resonates with both joy and integrity. I really look forward to making new friends as we seek to do this together.”

The Revd Canon Michael Rawson, Interim Dean of Southwark added:

“I am delighted that Mark has been appointed as Dean of Southwark, He brings theological reflection alive in his preaching and writing. We look forward to worshipping and working with Mark as the Cathedral enters a new and exciting phase of our life together, in deepening our faith and reaching out in service of our parish and diocese.”

Heather Hancock, Master of St John’s College, University of Cambridge, said:

“Mark Oakley has made a memorable and distinguished contribution to St John’s College during his time as Dean.  Our Chapel has been a place of outstanding worship and preaching under Mark’s imaginative, sensitive, and grounded leadership, offering warmth and welcome to all. His commitment to the spiritual and collegiate life of St John’s, including through outreach, tutorial support and his sustained contribution through the pandemic, has been superb. Southwark Cathedral are fortunate to be welcoming Mark as their Dean when he leaves St John’s later this year; he will go with our gratitude and very best wishes.”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

19 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
8 months ago

This is excellent news. Good old Southwark again!

Fr Jon
Fr Jon
8 months ago

Floreat Salopia!

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Fr Jon
8 months ago

Long live Sarf London

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
8 months ago

Andrew Nunn gave a year’s notice of his intention to retire. The Bishop has clearly used the time profitably to make this appointment.

Presumably the installation date of Advent Sunday has been chosen so Mr Oakley can serve a further term as Dean of Chapel. There is also the neat symbolism of starting a new ministry on the first day of the new liturgical year.

Sarah Mann
Sarah Mann
8 months ago

Excellent news indeed. But over 48% of the population of Southwark, and over 14% of the population of Surrey is non-white. The vision for Southwark Cathedral, as a beacon of inclusiveness and welcome, must surely now be to encourage and promote vocations from talented black clergy and musicians who could enrich its life of orthodox faith and radical love.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Sarah Mann
8 months ago

I would love that.

Whilst there may be a place for some cathedrals to maintain excellence in the standard classical choral tradition, surely at least one cathedral could try something different, and become a centre of excellence in a very different tradition of Christian music.

David James
David James
Reply to  Simon Dawson
8 months ago

Why not a fusion of both?

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  Simon Dawson
8 months ago

That I find an extraordinarily patronising view. The ‘standard Classical choral tradition’ does not belong to any ethnic group but is a unique musical experience which should be, and can be, available to all. You are essentially saying that folk from ethnic minority backgrounds should stick to their own sort of music. Two of the most prominent church musicians in the capital, Carl Jackson at the Chapel Royal and Andrew Nethsingha at Westminster Abbey are from ethnic minority backgrounds. Even way back in the early 20th century Southwark Cathedral had an ethnic minority organist, Soorjo Chuckerbutty.

Last edited 8 months ago by Matthew Tomlinson
Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Matthew Tomlinson
8 months ago

I find it very difficult to discern what is patronising in Simon Dawson’s comment.
I cannot see that he is saying that ‘folk from ethnic minority backgrounds should stick to there own sort of music’
Are you not putting words into his mouth?.
It seems unkind to accuse him of being patronising.
I regret that the current CofE way seems increasingly prone to unkindness.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Matthew Tomlinson
8 months ago

Matthew. You are right of course to point out the risk of being patronising, and to cite evidence that people from all ethnic backgrounds can cross boundaries and excel at all types of music. It is important always to remember that But I would equally point out the risk of being elitist and excluding. As a student of the pernicious effects of colonialism, I would ask if there is a risk that people from whatever ethnic background are only welcomed into the hallowed portals of our cathedrals and concert halls if they excel at one single style of music, a… Read more »

Simon Reynolds
Simon Reynolds
8 months ago

This is is an excellent and imaginative appointment in so many ways *and* all thanks and congratulations should go to the Bishop of Southwark for giving the Cathedral a poet, pastor and prophet when there must have been a degree of pressure to appoint a CEO in clerical dress. It will enable Southwark to continue to be an exciting place. And for those who are asking if Southwark can encourage more non-white, non-male participation in its musical foundation in the future, just take a look at the creative partnership that has flourished between St John’s College, Cambridge, and St John… Read more »

Canon Cameron Martin
Reply to  Simon Reynolds
8 months ago

I’m all for inclusion of traditional, orthodox and contemporary music within a cathedral setting. That would enhance the breath and depth of our worldwide Anglican music traditions. What I find offensive is the term non-white as if whiteness is the norm. Given the increasingly multicultural diversity of Britain, more so London in particular why do we need to refer to the lowest denominator a person/groups skin colour.!!

EagletP
EagletP
Reply to  Canon Cameron Martin
8 months ago

In the UK different cultures and ethnicities enrich us, but whiteness is by far still the majority ethnicity across all regions.

From the 2021 census London was the only region where less than half identified as ‘White British’ (38%) – every other region was 72-90%. In London ‘white other’ made up 17%, so all the regions are predominantly white.

Ethnicity is only one factor in assessing cultures, of course, but we can’t deny we are still very much majority white as a nation.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

I’m not really clear what some are suggesting here. Presumably not dispensing with Southwark’s choral foundation and professional director of music and organist. David James, it seems to me, hints at what might work.

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

Didn’t Sheffield Cathedral get in a bit of a pickle over similar concerns? I am all in favour of diversifying the repertoire and recruiting choristers from diverse backgrounds. However, we must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater and must preserve the best of the Anglican choral tradition.

Realist
Realist
8 months ago

For what I think are complex combinations of reasons, people of colour and people with disabilities are under represented in all aspects of the life of English cathedrals. I would love to see cathedrals having to deal well with things like a Precentor who can’t clamber into stalls in the Quire, or who directs rehearsals from a mobility scooter, or a wheelchair user chorister. I’d also love to see more people of colour as clergy, and in choirs, directing them and on organ benches. But with a few very notable exceptions, in England, this kind of music making seems even… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Realist
8 months ago

May I combine this reply to you with a response to Simon Bravery. Anyone who looks at the photographs of the choirs (note plural) on Southwark Cathedral’s website will find that ‘ethnic minorities’ (I don’t like the term in this context, but others seem to think it important) are already included among the child members. As a matter of law, in every C of E cathedral it is required to say or sing Morning and Evening Prayer daily in Common Prayer form. We all know sung Evening Prayer as Choral Evensong, and there is an enormous range of settings and… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
8 months ago

This is a great appointment. But, as has been noted elsewhere, it seems to be policy these days to appoint partnered gay clergy to a Canonry or Deanery but to deny them bishoprics for which many are clearly better suited than some who obtain them.

I hope that Mark likes cats.

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Richard Ashby
8 months ago

Maybe they decline the possibility before the invitation comes to start climbing the greasy pole. – and who could blame them when there are more fulfilling ministries available elsewhere which also serve the church very well indeed. Church Times diary writers are a good place to start if wondering who I am referring to.

19
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x