Thinking Anglicans

Dean of York

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office. There is more information on the York Minister website.

Appointment of Dean of York: 13 July 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Very Reverend Dominic Matthew Jesse Barrington, Dean of St James Cathedral, Chicago, for election as Dean of York.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 13 July 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Very Reverend Dominic Matthew Jesse Barrington, Dean of St James Cathedral, Chicago, for election as Dean of York, in succession to The Right Reverend Dr Jonathan Frost following his appointment as Bishop of Portsmouth.

Background

Dominic was educated at Hatfield College, Durham, and trained for ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. He served his title in the Mortlake with East Sheen Team Ministry, in the Diocese of Southwark, and was ordained Priest in 1996.

In 1998, Dominic was appointed Chaplain of St Chad’s College, Durham. In 2003, he became Priest-in-Charge of St Peter and St Paul with St Michael, Kettering, in the Diocese of Peterborough, before being appointed Rector of the benefice in 2010.

In 2015, Dominic moved to his current role as Dean of St James Cathedral, Chicago, in The Episcopal Church in the United States.

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Susannah Clark
27 days ago

Feedback and insights from St James Cathedral, Chicago, could be valuable – they host the Chicago branch of The Reformation Project, which is very gay and trans-affirming. And besides, The Episcopal Church has championed LGBT+ inclusion in the Anglican Communion, so I hope Dominic brings some of that inclusive mentality back with him to York.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
27 days ago

This is mildly reminiscent of the appointment of a Dean of Cape Town as Dean of Chester in 1954. His name was Michael Gibbs.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
26 days ago

I believe The Episcopal Church has just voted in favour of abortion on demand with no time limits. I wonder what Revd Barrington’s position on this question is.

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
26 days ago

That is not quite what was approved at the recent General Convention, though I see how it could be read that way. The Episcopal Church has a long history of opposition to legal restrictions on access to abortion. This resolution is in response to the recent raft of such restrictions being enacted, or about to be enacted, but it does not alter the basic position that decisions regarding abortion are to be left to those directly involved, without fear of criminal prosecution. As the Explanation states, “In some cases, these political and legal restrictions are so broadly constructed that they… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Tobias Stanislas Haller
26 days ago

So, what, in your view, is the position of TEC if not “abortion on demand with no time limits”? The resolution reads

Resolved, that the 80th General Convention affirms that all Episcopalians should be able to access abortion services and birth control with no restriction on movement, autonomy, type, or timing

However, my question was about the position of the incoming Dean of York.

Caelius Spinator
Caelius Spinator
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
26 days ago

As someone who is a communicant member of both churches but lives in the UK, I think General Convention resolutions like this have to be read with an important contextual note. In the UK, the legal framework surrounding abortion is generally enforced/administered by the NHS with rare interventions by the CPS. These organisations, particularly the NHS, hold a high level of public trust. People may complain about the efficiency, funding level etc. of the NHS, but people seem to believe that no one in the NHS would let them come to harm without serious consequences. In the US, the medical… Read more »

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
25 days ago

This resolution opposes the recent prohibitions enacted; it is not a commendation of abortion. The Episcopal Church has a long-standing opposition to such legal restrictions, while at the same time maintaining a relatively conservative position on abortion, similar to that of the C of E. A 1994 resolution lays this out in detail. Here are some excerpts All human life is sacred from its inception until death. The Church takes seriously its obligation to help form the consciences of its members concerning this sacredness. . . . . . While we acknowledge that in this country it is the legal… Read more »

Last edited 25 days ago by Tobias Stanislas Haller
dr.primrose
dr.primrose
26 days ago

The key language in the TEC resolution concerns the ability “to ACCESS abortion services” (my emphasis). The express intent was to oppose arbitrary government regulations that endanger the woman’s life, for example, barring an abortion completely or after an arbitrary deadline (like 6 or 15 weeks). A good example of this, which should be familiar to people living in the British Isles, was the death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland. Wikipedia’s summary of her death states: “On 21 October 2012, Halappanavar, then 17 weeks pregnant, was examined at University Hospital Galway after complaining of back pain, but was soon discharged… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  dr.primrose
26 days ago

I really do not understand what the difference between the right to abortion and the right to access abortion could possibly be (and consideration of a case under very different laws isn’t terribly helpful on that point). However, my guess is that the wording is intended to allow members of TEC with differing views about abortion to each believe that their views are indeed the policy of their church. Since the position of the church is stated to be that the “right of individuals to reach informed decisions [about the termination of pregnancy] and to act upon them” should have… Read more »

Last edited 26 days ago by Unreliable Narrator
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
26 days ago

When he is installed, the new Dean will make and sign the Declaration of Assent and a series of oaths: the Oath of Allegiance to the Sovereign, the Oath of Canonical Obedience to the Archbishop of York and the Oath to observe the Statutes (etc.) of York Minster. Accordingly the combined effect is that he will observe and uphold solely the teaching and traditional formularies of the Church of England.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
26 days ago

Yes how easily we forget what is legally required by CofE clergy. The presence of a registrar at licensing and induction services seems to underline this, although in my experience the registrars (and their deputies) attend less often, perhaps something lost during the complexities of covid.

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
25 days ago

Note the opposition to abortion for reasons other than medical concern for the welfare of the pregnant woman, in the resolutions that have been in place since 1967. Along with the affirmation that abortion should not be illegal. The current legislation is solely about efforts to criminalize abortion, and place limits as early as six weeks. The Episcopal Church is also (since 1997) explicit in opposition to late-term (“partial-birth”) abortion except in the most dire circumstances.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Tobias Stanislas Haller
25 days ago

It seems then that there’s a clear difference between what TEC want the law of the land to be (legal abortion for any reason without time limits) and what they think is right (and expect their members to adhere to). A curious dichotomy.

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
24 days ago

It really isn’t all that curious, given the American experience of Prohibition and the War on Drugs — both of which had terrible consequences, and did little to reduce the behaviors they were intended to prevent. It is well established that outlawing abortion does not stop it; rather, it exacerbates the misfortunes attendant upon it.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Tobias Stanislas Haller
24 days ago

The laws against many forms of conduct generally considered undesirable, such as murder, do not stop them, but there is good reason to believe those laws do reduce the rate of that conduct and the harm caused.

In this paticular case, the alternative under discussion is not between the two extremes of prohibition and absence of any restriction: it’s between some form of legal restriction and no form of legal restriction.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
24 days ago

On further reflection, I think this discussion reveals a rather interesting classification of issues on which to take a moral stance. We have two independent binary classifications. One is acts which members of the church should be permitted / forbidden to do by church discipline; the other is acts which members of the general public should be permitted / forbidden to do by the secular criminal law. The majority might take the view that, say, adultery and fornication might be in the class of forbidden to church members / permitted to the general public. It seems that TEC put abortion… Read more »

Hilary Dawes
Hilary Dawes
26 days ago

Again (and I know Stephen Cottrell has no influence over the final choice of a Crown appointment) it is interesting that the second senior appointment in York is of someone who is returning to the Church of England after experience elsewhere. That is telling us something significant about the importance of having a wider perspective outside the C of E bubble. Anyone who can challenge the self-referential, inwardly-obsessed, downward spiral of English Anglicanism with intelligence and empathy is to be warmly welcomed. It also tells us something, perhaps, about the quality of those in the much-trumpeted ‘talent pool.’

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Hilary Dawes
26 days ago

The bishop of the see has a lot of influence over the appointmemt of the dean of their cathedral church. There is a selection panel with a lay chair appointed by the archbishop, and the bishop him- or herself is an ex officio member of the panel, with as much influnece as they care to wield. The Abps’ Appointments Secretary administers the process, and for the Crown appointments the PM’s Appointments Secretary is also involved all along. The panel draws up the job description, agrees the text of any advertisements, and then shortlists and interviews the candidates. The bishop will… Read more »

Hilary Dawes
Hilary Dawes
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
26 days ago

That’s really interesting, Simon. Thank you for clarifying the process (and the link). I was simply assuming that, when I was told by someone of seniority in the Winchester Diocese, some years ago, that Tim Dakin would not be able to shoe-horn a hand-chosen candidate into the Deanery, and that the Crown process doesn’t allow for the bishop to make the appointment, I took it at face value. I also know a situation where an existing residentiary canon was told he was the preferred candidate for the deanery, only to have to watch another candidate appointed. He was later told… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Hilary Dawes
26 days ago

It’s true that the bishop does not make the appointment. At the very least, if the bishop favours one particular candidate, then they must persuade enough other members of the panel to agree with them, and the panel, if they are doing their job properly will do their best to ensure that the bishop’s preferred canididate is the one that they might well have chosen. Conversely the bishop may be content with more than one of the candidates, and be happy to go along with the rest of the panel.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
26 days ago

And re-reading the process, I see that the bishop in fact has a veto on the selection panel: “The preferred candidate will be identified by a majority vote … The Bishop must be one of the majority”.

David James
David James
Reply to  Hilary Dawes
26 days ago

Hilary, how right you are and how appropriate and necessary that appointments from the Episcopal Church feature as they have wrestled with many of our contemporary issues for years and have developed insights and expertise that just pass us by. Hopefully we can also benefit from their skills in promoting clergy mentoring and well being as we seem to be dismally lacking in both areas

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
26 days ago

As Tobias notes, TEC’s recent resolution on abortion reaffirms TEC’s previous statements on abortion. The definitive statement on abortion was passed in 1994 and reads as follows: Resolved, That this 71st General Convention of the Episcopal Church reaffirms resolution C047 from the 69th General Convention, which states: All human life is sacred from its inception until death. The Church takes seriously its obligation to help form the consciences of its members concerning this sacredness. Human life, therefore, should be initiated only advisedly and in full accord with this understanding of the power to conceive and give birth which is bestowed… Read more »

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
26 days ago

(Continued from above) Whenever members of this Church are consulted with regard to a problem pregnancy, they are to explore, with grave seriousness, with the person or persons seeking advice and counsel, as alternatives to abortion, other positive courses of action, including, but not limited to, the following possibilities: the parents raising the child; another family member raising the child; making the child available for adoption. It is the responsibility of members of this Church, especially the clergy, to become aware of local agencies and resources which will assist those faced with problem pregnancies. We believe that legislation concerning abortions… Read more »

Philip Hobday
Philip Hobday
26 days ago

Odd that it refers to the Dean being elected?

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Philip Hobday
26 days ago

So it does. Deans have not been elected since the 1830s. (Before that, some if not all of the deans of the Old Foundation cathedrals were elected by the prebendaries on the nomination of the Crown, as bishops still are.) Probably a mistaken copy from an episcopal announcement.

Peter Collier
Peter Collier
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
26 days ago

This has been drawn to Downing Street’s attention. They doubtless had other things on their mind.

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
26 days ago

Having had a brief beverage with a seasoned ecclesiastical mover and shaker, not a million miles from York Minster, last night, it sounds as if this will be a well-received appointment. There is certainly hope that it will provide some stability (this will be York’s fourth dean in just over a decade). But I was also interested to be told that Dominic Barrington was not the only priest currently serving in The Episcopal Church hoping to make a return trip back from the States to become custodian of the largest Gothic cathedral north of the Alps. It appears that there’s… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Bill Broadhead
25 days ago

Now she’s gone”
Not sure I follow–what has changed?

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Bill Broadhead
25 days ago

Well, it’s only 4 if you include the two residentiary canons who held the fort as acting dean between the substantive appointments.

Last edited 25 days ago by Simon Sarmiento
Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
25 days ago

Keith Jones, Viv Faull, Jonathan Frost, and now Dominic Barrington. Not sure when in 2012 the first of those retired, but that is 4 in 10 years or thereabouts.

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
25 days ago

Well, OK then.

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
25 days ago

I was referring to Keith Jones (rtd 2012), Viv Faull (consecrated 2018), Jonathan Frost (translated 2022), Dominic Barrington (appointed 2022), Simon. I make that four.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Bill Broadhead
25 days ago

What’s a “brief” bevvy? Whatever it is, please have lots more for the gobbets of gossip you pick up from your brief bevvy co-imbiber (I assume it’s the same one each time) are delicious. As I hope is the bevvy.

Anthony Lynett
Anthony Lynett
25 days ago

Dominic is a hugely talented Priest and will be a great blessing to York Minster and beyond.

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