on Tuesday, 20 December 2022 at 10.26 pm by Peter Owen
categorised as Church of England, News
The Dean of Chichester, the Very Reverend Stephen Waine, has announced that he is to become the vicar of the benefice of Piddle Valley, Hilton and Ansty, Cheselbourne and Melcombe Horsey, in the Diocese of Salisbury.
Has there ever been a time when so many Deaneries have been vacant all at once? At a time when the Army is being drafted in to offer emergency cover for the Ambulance Service so too former cathedral deans are emerging from retirement in order to become Interim Deans – Jane Hedges at Canterbury and Newcastle Graeme Knowles at Chichester.
Fr David, might it be that we’ve gone beyond the tipping point and it’s all starting to implode?
And Montreal for Chelmsford: https://www.chelmsfordcathedral.org.uk/news/the-very-revd-paul-kennington-appointed-as-acting-dean-of-chelmsford
“Interim Deans” are a new thing, under the recent Cathedrals Measure. Until then, the senior canon was usually Acting Dean. Now bishops can appoint an outsider.
It was the 1999 Cathedrals Measure that introduced the obligation on bishops to appoint an Interim Dean at any point when there is not a dean for a cathedral. Often one of the existing residentiaries was nominated as such – but with many cathedrals running with fewer full-time residentiary canons, the need for more comprehensive arrangements often mean having to bring someone in from outside.
At the same time there are more bishops, archdeacons, assistant archdeacons, archdeacon enablers, etc, etc. Has parish ministry been forgotten?
Well, it seems like the Dean of Chichester hasn’t forgotten it. He’s going to be a parish priest, having spent several years as a Dean and as an archdeacon before that.
From the distance of the Antipodes, this move by the former Dean to exercising parish ministry – where ‘the rubber hits the road’- seems a very Gospel-inspired step Some of us who still assist in parish ministry after retirement have come to realise what a need there is in the Church for continuing faithful priestly ministry – conducted without charge – as so many of our faithful laity also make their so-valuable contribution. The hierarchy is OK for the purpose of administration, but may not always be so helpful for the day-to-day ministry of parish life. Happy Christmas everyone!
No doubt the Dean has thought this through. It seems to me a very healthy thing for people like deans, archdeacons and bishops to be willing say in their fifties or sixties to let go of management posts and share their skill and wisdom in ‘front line’ parish ministry.
Too many (but not all) church leaders in post for more than five years come across as a little stale / tired. Perhaps it would be use to time bind more posts, even including bishops.
All is not what it seems regarding the departing Dean:
“Over 200 letters of complaint sent to the Bishop, organised by ####### ####### and a few others has done the trick…”
Chi Cathedral has not been in a happy place for a while. Lots of problems, not least with treatment of essential volunteers (who seem to be voting with their feet). Add to that the widely known Bishop-Dean friction & you have the definition of a poisoned chalice.
Only bright note has been very recent introduction of Girl Choristers.
I’ve managed to be a choir parent, active volunteer and to worship in the Cathedral most days for the last decade without getting any wind of hundreds of letters of complaint, which now makes me wonder what excitements I’ve been missing. Of course there are tensions, and mis-steps, as there are in every organisation of similar size. To the introduction of girl choristers, I’d add the appointment of two new excellent residentiary canons to join the already excellent Chancellor; reopening of the shop in a much more commercially successful location; a well set plan to reopen the cafe in March… Read more »
The groundswell of unhappiness certainly has passed you by. I also notice you do not mention the Dean-Bishop friction – surely that has not passed you by as well?
This unhappiness is far from purely Dean related, particularly as it is appreciated that he to a large extent inherited the George Bell fiasco, and it is Martin Warner’s desk upon which particular buck rests.
Here are a few of what Mr Allport would call “mis-steps” by the departing Dean:
Thanks for replying. I did know of the various moves to remove or reduce the prominence of references to +Bell. As Lord Carlile showed, the whole thing was a process fiasco of the first order. But, as anyone with clergy friends will know, the Church doesn’t operate with any meaningful presumption of innocence.
The blame for that goes a long way above the pay grade of the Dean of Chichester.
“…the Church doesn’t operate with any meaningful presumption of innocence. The blame for that goes a long way above the pay grade of the Dean of Chichester” The blame went to the pay grade of an Archbishop – Justin Welby – who, last year, finally admitted wrongdoing against Bishop Bell with contrition and repentance. https://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/dean-of-chichester/#comment-453321 Why did the Dean of Chichester Stephen Waine not follow the example of his Archbishop and admit wrongdoing – and the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner for that matter.? Why has, for example, 4 Canon Lane not reverted immediately back to George Bell House after… Read more »
Link correction “I was wrong”
Stephen Waine has accomplished much as Dean – not least securing funds for the Cathedral roof – but this has been overshadowed by him overseeing the smearing of Bishop Bell’s good name [eg by erasing the name of George Bell House] and, under his watch, the Education Department has been closed – as has the much-loved Cloisters Cafe and Shop.
Rather an odd arrangement for interim dean. Graham Knowles will move to Chichester until Easter, after which Simon Holland takes over. Is it really worth Bishop Knowles uprooting himself from Suffolk just for three months or so?
Doesn’t John Hall the excellent previous Dean of Westminster now reside in Chichester following his retirement from the Abbey?
We now await the formal ecclesiastical apologies regarding the orchestrated character assassination of Bishop George Bell – both from the Dean and Bishop of Chichester…and significant others within the Diocese and beyond:
But perhaps there is more chance of flying pigs getting landing rights here at Gatwick?
It is perhaps a wise decision for the Dean of Chichester, the Very Reverend Stephen Waine, to embrace ministry above bureaucracy in becoming parish vicar of the benefice of Piddle Valley, Hilton and Ansty, Cheselbourne and Melcombe Horsey.
Unhealed grievances create a powerful groundswell of anger, frustration and discontent – and I think this is what has sadly built up over time at Chichester Cathedral. Something has to give in these unfortunate – and sometimes unforeseen – circumstances.
They can indeed. From the perspective of this outsider who knows nothing of any unhappiness at Chichester, or the qualities and abilities of the Dean, save what he reads on here, it certainly seems as though unhealed grievances seem to be constantly at work in this thread, drawing any attempts to present any achievements of the Dean’s tenure back to the ‘mis-steps’/‘mistakes’/‘wrongs’ done to the reputation of the late Bishop Bell (choose the signifier you prefer) through the Cathedral’s actions. Serious though that situation undoubtedly was, and continues to be, it would be good in this season if the grievances… Read more »
“it would be good in this season if the grievances at work here could be healed through either an apology or a choice of those feeling aggrieved to set down their burden and trust God to be God about it” – ‘Realist’
Couldn’t agree more but, speaking as a realist, either way is easier said than done.
Indeed. But in the realism I have lived, I’ve found doing it is the only thing that has returned living in anything like fullness of life to me, in a situation where Church people and leaders have seriously wronged me. It isn’t for me to tell anyone to forgive – I haven’t in the ‘wipe the slate clean’ way many people mean it when they say it – and I certainly don’t believe in the glib callousness of ‘forgiving and forgetting’. But I do know that hard though it has been, not bearing a grudge and stopping living hoping an… Read more »
‘The Character Assassination of Bishop George Bell’ – A Study of Injustice