on Tuesday, 19 October 2021 at 10.29 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Church of England
The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, has announced that she will retire in May 2022.
How very sad- that in the now several days since this announcement that no-one has felt drawn to say how sad they are and to give thanks for the many years of service given as curate, team vicar, Stewardship Adviser, Canon Residentiary, Rural Dean, Canon Steward, Archdeacon, Sub-Dean and Dean. I did not know Jane. I wish her well and say no more.
Thank you. I know Jane (and should have posted earlier) as colleague, Team Rector, Rural Dean and – most importantly – as a loved and respected parish priest in Exeter Diocese. In conservative Devon, Jane’s ministry was prophetic in its inclusiveness – and at some cost to her, I can testify. I wish Jane and Chris a long and fulfilling retirement in Northumberland.
I would like to wish Jane and Chris every happiness in their retirement. I was at school with Jane but she may not remember me but I have followed her career with interest. Norwich is close to me so I intend to make every effort to visit the amazing cathedral before she retires.
I don’t know Jane Hedges at all, but I have friends in Norwich who say she has been an exceptionally fine Dean who understands the distinctive character and potential of the cathedral. Let’s hope that those responsible for the appointment of her successor take note. More generally, with Jonathan Frost moving from York and Jane Hedges from Norwich, do we still have have a critical mass of clergy of decanal calibre? I know the former Bishop of Lambeth was of the view that, once someone had done his mini MBA, they had ticked the box to run a cathedral. But… Read more »
I am afraid that I take a rather different view. It is true that Henry VIII intended the cathedrals to be repositories of learning (see, for instance, the excellent monographs by Stanford Lehmberg on early modern cathedrals), but this was an ideal often more honoured in the breach than the observance (as when the early Stuarts preferred the Casaubons – Isaac and Meric – and Vossius to stalls at Canterbury). However, very few capitular clergy before the nineteenth century spent more time in their prebendal houses or deaneries than was strictly required by the applicable statutes (and often not even… Read more »
Also, the much-vaunted increases in attendance at *some* cathedrals is usually merely a function of the development of the tourist trade. It is very frequently the case that people are counted as ‘attending’ when it is quite obvious that they are there only to gain access to the building without actually having to pay the entrance fee (if one is being charged). I have attended a good many cathedral services away from the obvious tourist sites where attendance is a paltry as it is elsewhere, even allowing for the ‘snob’ factor, which attracts some people to cathedral services. However, it… Read more »
I worship in a cathedral. I was brought up on a council estate in East London, I left school (and attending the C of E) at 16. No ‘snob’ factor with me, I’m afraid. I was drawn back to active Christian faith simply because the combination of the liturgy, music and architecture proved to be transformative. The preaching is, on the whole, thoughtful and connected to scripture tradition and present challenges. Prayer is a priority and this informs a commitment to justice and community engagement. Above all, I am not patronised every time I go there by some well-meaning vicar… Read more »
I don’t mind our sending good wishes to the church’s celebs when they retire or receive gold stars (Lambeth awards) from the ABC for good behaviour (the latter put me in mind of Aer Lingus magazine, “Cara”, awarding the prize for the best Irish airline to, erm, Aer Lingus – honest, I kid you not), but I wish we could send our good wishes and deep gratitude to those retiring after decades of truly sacrificial ministry in unfashionable parishes. They really deserve them.