At a service of Choral Evensong held at Newcastle Cathedral on Sunday 22 January 2023, the Very Reverend Dr Jane Hedges was commissioned as Interim Dean of Newcastle.
Jane brings a wealth of experience, having served as Canon Residentiary of Portsmouth Cathedral, Canon Steward of Westminster Abbey, Dean of Norwich, and very recently as Acting Dean of Canterbury Cathedral.
The Officiant and Preacher at the service was the Right Revd Mark Wroe, Acting Bishop of Newcastle.
As part of his sermon, Bishop Mark said: “Norwich, Canterbury, Newcastle… Jane, if you could get air miles for travelling around cathedrals, you’d be making a flying start.
“For everything, there is a season and a time for every matter under Heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to work and a time to retire. A time to work again and a time to retire again… and a time to work yet again. You know where I’m going…
“Jane, I am, we are, deeply grateful to you and to Chris [Jane’s husband] for your willingness to give this time to support and serve the Cathedral and Diocese in this interim period. And though this task we pray will be a relatively short one, we are also glad that Northumberland is now your home and you won’t be going too far away at the end of this time.
“For everything, there is a season and a time for every matter under Heaven. Time to break down and time to build up. Well, we hope we’ve done all the breaking down we’ve needed to do for the moment in this Cathedral. We’ve seen walls broken down, floors taken up, pews removed, all to reorder this wonderful place.
“And now Jane comes to help us in the ongoing work of the building up. But not the building up of the fabric, please God, but the building up of the community the building up of the team here, the congregation, the community in which our cathedral sits, including our wider Diocese of Newcastle.
“Jane, we look forward to you building us up and preparing us as a Cathedral and Diocese for a new Bishop and a new Dean.”
After the sermon, Jane stood before the Bishop as he read the Words of Commission. The Senior Residentiary Canon of Newcastle Cathedral, Clare MacLaren, then led the Interim Dean to her assigned seat in the Quire, the Decanal Stall.
Upon her appointment in December, Jane said: “It is both an exciting and challenging time for the Cathedral as it has said farewell to one Dean and awaits the appointment of another. Like all cathedrals though, the running of Newcastle depends on the whole team of clergy, staff and volunteers worshipping and working together.”
Jane continued: “My husband Chris and I have already received a warm welcome as we’ve visited and worshipped at the Cathedral, and I very much look forward to working with all who are part of its life.”
Jane’s commissioning follows the retirement in November 2022 of the Very Reverend Geoff Miller, who had served as Dean of Newcastle since 2018. His time as Dean encompassed the Covid-19 pandemic and the Cathedral’s major Common Ground in Sacred Space redevelopment project, made possible by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. A new Dean will be appointed later in 2023.
The live-streamed Choral Evensong service with Commissioning of the New Interim Dean of Newcastle will remain available to watch via the Cathedral’s YouTube channel for seven days until the evening of Sunday 29 January. Download the Order of Service here.