At 10 a.m. this morning in London, it was announced by 10 Downing Street that Her Majesty has approved that I be appointed as the next Dean of York Minster, the cathedral church of the diocese of York, the mother church of the northern province of the Church of England, and the seat of the Archbishop of York.
While I am honored and overjoyed to be entrusted with such a major responsibility, I am also, of course, saddened that this news means that my time at St. James Cathedral is drawing to a close. After discussion with the wardens and my senior colleagues here, we have decided that on my return from sabbatical at the end of August, I will continue in post here until the end of October, and that my final Sunday at St. James will be 30 October.
Obviously, this news also means that Alison will be resigning as the Director of Children’s Ministry. To allow Benedict and Linus to start the forthcoming academic year at their new school, Alison and they will be leaving Chicago at the end of this month, to ensure that the boys’ transition is as easy as possible. Plans are already in hand to find a successor for Alison, and ensure continuity in our ministry to our youth and children. I am pleased to say that although they will be moving to York in a couple of weeks, Alison, Benedict and Linus will be able to spend the last week in October back here in Chicago, so that the four of us will have the opportunity of making a proper farewell to everyone.
Transitions of this kind do not always happen when we would wish them, and I would have preferred not to have to share this news when St. James is going through a period of uncertainty and conflict with the diocese over the future of 65 E Huron. However, the wisdom and caliber of those with whom I have worked alongside is second to none, and both in terms of staff and your elected lay leaders, the cathedral will continue to be in excellent hands, despite the challenges currently being faced. Nicole Spencer, our Senior Warden, will address this in more detail later in this email.
If you happen to have visited York, you will know that the Minster is a remarkable building. In addition to being a major cathedral with a full liturgical and pastoral life, is also one of the most significant architectural gems in Europe, and the most visited ‘attraction’ in northern England. My new position is therefore somewhat daunting, but if I am indeed, thought to be capable of taking on such a challenge, it is due in no small measure to what I have learned from you – the extraordinary and wonderful people of St James Cathedral in Chicago. The last seven years of ministry here have enabled me to grow as a priest in ways I had never expected, and my gratitude to everyone who has supported me here in this role is enormous.