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Dean of Lichfield
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From Bishop Michael
Lichfield Cathedral is something of a hidden gem. It is a site of great and lasting spiritual, historic and artistic value, serving a far-flung diocese in a county and a region that can sometimes struggle to achieve recognition. The Cathedral is generally held in great affection by the people of the city, county and region, as ‘our cathedral’, but it still faces a challenge in turning that affection into a sense of real belonging and effective supporting.
Our Cathedral, founded by St Chad the first Bishop of Lichfield, is at the heart of the spiritual life of a diocese whose direction of travel has for the last seven years been encapsulated in the words: ‘Come, follow Christ in the Footsteps of St Chad’.
Alongside the Dean’s primary location within the Cathedral, I would want to take seriously his or her significant role as the senior priest in the diocese, working closely with my episcopal, archidiaconal and lay colleagues as a member of my staff team, and being recognisably ‘Dean of Lichfield’, not merely ‘Dean of Lichfield Cathedral’. Needless to say, I would see her or his relationship with me as diocesan bishop as being one of great importance, and I will commit to investing interest, energy and support in that relationship. Most of all, I would look for the next Dean to model the values and virtues which we know were evident in the life of St Chad who founded our Cathedral – warmth, prayerfulness, humility, peaceableness, and a deep love for the people of this part of the English Midlands.
Our Cathedral, founded by St Chad the first Bishop of Lichfield, is at the heart of the spiritual life of a diocese whose direction of travel has for the last seven years been encapsulated in the words: ‘Come, follow Christ in the Footsteps of St Chad’. The living continuity of the Cathedral with St Chad has since 2022 been emphasised through the reinstatement of a shrine to our founder bishop, with the acceptance of a small relic of the saint generously provided by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham. This in turn has broadened the Cathedral’s ecumenical outreach and strengthened its role as a destination and focus of pilgrimage, which is integral to our understanding of mission in the diocese.
Within our overall direction of travel modelled on Chad’s witness, the diocese has identified three particular priorities of strengthening discipleship, multiplying vocations and encouraging evangelism. The Cathedral has a seminal part to play in helping the wider diocese fulfil each of these priorities – by modelling good and innovative practice in each, by celebrating the achievements of parishes and communities, and by helping to resource local ministers and churches in their mission through teaching, liturgy and prayer.
These will include:
- To embed inspirational, inclusive and people-focused Christian leadership at the heart of all the Cathedral ensuring the whole community feels involved and informed about decisions, empowering all to collegially contribute to the life of the Cathedral.
- To enable the Cathedral to fully inhabit its place as the ‘Mother Church’ of the Diocese and the seat of the Bishop’s mission and ministry. To connect with communities across Staffordshire, North Shropshire and the Black Country as a beacon of comfort, hope and joy.
- To grow and deepen discipleship and vocations within the worshipping congregation, ensuring the Cathedral remains a living place of worship, telling the story of Jesus Christ in a manner that invites exploration.
- To balance the often conflicting and competing demands made on the life of the Cathedral, and that the Cathedral’s outreach continues to be effective and maximises missional opportunities which are rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Work alongside members of Chapter to draw together an ambitious and achievable strategy to maintain the long-term fabric needs identified in the Quinquennial Inspection Report and driving required fundraising which, whilst sensitive to the resources of all stakeholders, allows the mission of the Cathedral to flourish.
- To consider, following the full implementation of the Cathedral Measure 2021, alongside members of Chapter, a renewal or evolution of the Cathedral’s values, understanding and interpreting them in God’s love and ensuring they invite all who journey alongside the Cathedral to know Christ’s grace.
The Ideal Candidate
Someone who is:
- An emotionally intelligent, hospitable and people-focused leader who is gifted in and takes joy from building community. An inspirational teacher who role models Christian values and approachability.
- A person who is passionate about mission and discipleship, to whom others naturally unite around in Christian fellowship. Someone who can build relationships of substance and is ambitious in identifying the gifts of others, and wants to share the inclusive love of Christ, inviting others into His service and witness.
- An engaging preacher and celebrant who loves and thrives within the sacramental and choral tradition, and takes delight in experiencing God’s presence in other forms of worship and ways of being the Church.
- A faithful steward who has a passion for the Cathedral’s past, present and future, and can articulate and deliver a vision and strategy that cherishes each of these. A person, led by the Spirit, who can guide the Cathedral in its mission including as a place of pilgrimage and the home of St Chad.
- A person for whom collaboration is natural, who can empower, develop and nurture ministerial, lay and other professional colleagues.
- A strategic thinker, who is comfortable with complexity. Capable of balancing priorities and responding in an agile way to changing circumstances. Someone who can hold together ambitious commercial demands, whilst ensuring the work of the Cathedral remains rooted in the Gospel.
Lichfield Cathedral is prominent in the history and culture of the City and was described by its proud community as a ‘luminous place with pent up spiritual energy’ which ‘punches above its weight’.
It is one of England’s oldest sites of Christian worship (consecrated in 700AD). The Cathedral is closely associated with St Chad, who moved his see to Lichfield in 669 AD. The Chapter House displays the Lichfield Gospels, also known as the ‘Book of Chad’ (the Gospels of Mark and Matthew and part of Luke) which date from around 730 AD. This link with St Chad was further strengthened in November 2022 when a relic of St Chad was translated to the Cathedral from St Chad’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Birmingham, and a new shrine was consecrated at Lichfield.
The Cathedral has values based on the 4 h’s (holiness, healing, hope and hospitality). The mission of Lichfield Cathedral is to live and proclaim the transforming love of God. Through the fullness of its life in the Spirit, it seeks to be a sign of friendship and freedom that God in Jesus Christ has given the whole world to enjoy.