Reverend Canon Lee Batson appointed as next Dean of Newcastle

First published on: 14th July 2023

The Bishop of Newcastle has appointed The Reverend Canon Lee Batson as the next Dean of Newcastle.

He succeeds The Very Reverend Dr Jane Hedges, who has been Interim Dean since January, following the retirement of The Very Reverend Geoff Miller last year.

Lee is currently Team Rector of the Epping Team Ministry, as well as Area Dean and World Church Partnership Officer in Chelmsford Diocese, where he developed a strong connection with the Anglican Church in Kenya. He also serves on the Diocesan Board of Education, and is Chair of a large Multi-Academy Trust.

Commenting on his appointment Lee said:

“I am humbled and delighted to have been appointed as the next Dean of Newcastle, and am looking forward to working with Bishop Helen-Ann, Cathedral Chapter, Bishop’s Staff Team and colleagues in Newcastle Cathedral and Diocese as we seek to further God’s mission in our communities – not least by becoming ever more outward facing, younger and more diverse. 

“This is an exciting time to be joining the Cathedral and Diocese. The Cathedral has recently completed its own refurbishment, which has already opened up new opportunities for it to engage with the City and beyond. 

“Whilst I am new to the North East, I already feel a sense of connection with the core values of the Cathedral as a place of radical welcome which, through offering inspiring worship and other activities, seeks to empower worth. I look forward to playing my part in building on all that has already been done to make these values a reality – particularly through the Lantern Initiative and partnership with the Oswin Project. 

“I give thanks to God for all the blessings I have received as a priest in the Diocese of Chelmsford, and am grateful to God for the call to continue my ministry in the Diocese of Newcastle.”

Welcoming the new dean, the Bishop of Newcastle, The Right Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley said:

“I am absolutely delighted that God has called Lee to Newcastle, and thrilled that Lee emerged as the unanimous candidate of the appointment panel during our discernment process. Lee brings tremendous energy and gifts to his new role, and a commitment to the mission and ministry of God in a Cathedral context as it relates to the city and to our whole Diocese. I am very much looking forward to Lee arriving in the Autumn and to welcoming him to our wonderful region!”

Interim Dean the Very Revd Dr Jane Hedges spoke of the appointment saying:

“The Chapter, staff and congregation of the Cathedral are delighted to hear of the appointment of Lee as the new Dean and very much look forward to welcoming him and to working with him as we serve this great city and diocese.

“We are at a very exciting time in the life of the Cathedral as we build upon what has been achieved in the past, and more recently through the completion of the ‘Common Ground in Sacred Space’ project. As we look to the future, we trust that the Cathedral will continue to be a place of radical welcome, of inspiring worship and where everyone is valued and can thrive.” 

Congratulating Lee on his new role, the Bishop of Chelmsford, The Right Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani said:

“My warm congratulations to Lee on his appointment as Dean of Newcastle. We will of course miss him greatly in the Diocese of Chelmsford, particularly in the Epping and Ongar Deanery, where he has been a faithful servant to the parishes, schools and local communities.

“I’m also enormously grateful for all that Lee has contributed to the life of our wider diocese, particularly through his work to build and develop relationships with our partner dioceses. He will leave with our prayers for this next chapter in his ministry and gratitude for all that he has brought to us in Chelmsford Diocese.”

Lee is married to Stephanie and in his spare time enjoys watching cricket and baseball, attending music concerts and exploring the world of wine.

An installation service for Lee to formally become Dean will take place at Newcastle Cathedral on 14th October at 3pm.

All photos from the celebration can be found on our Flickr page

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