Services to bid farewell to the Dean of Norwich
The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, will be retiring in May after eight years at the helm of Norwich Cathedral, and a day of special services will take place on Sunday 1 May to bid a fond farewell to the Dean.
The Very Revd Jane Hedges became the first female Dean of Norwich in the Cathedral’s 900-year history in 2014 and the Cathedral has achieved many things under the Dean’s tenure, including everything from raising the funds for a major restoration of the Cathedral’s organ to hosting the Natural History Museum’s iconic Dippy the dinosaur.
All are welcome to attend the Dean’s Farewell on Sunday 1 May. At the 10.30am Sung Eucharist, Norwich Cathedral Choir will be accompanied by an orchestra. Much of the music for the morning service has been chosen by the Dean and will include Haydn’s St Nicholas Mass and Rutter’s anthem This is the Day. The service will be followed by coffee and cake.
The 3.30pm Festal Evensong with the Cathedral Choir will include an interview between the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, and the Dean. After Evensong, there will be a reception in the Nave which is open to all.
Both services will also be livestreamed via the Norwich Cathedral Services YouTube Channel.
In between the services, all are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the Cloister or the wider Cathedral Close.
The Dean of Norwich said: “This will be a day of mixed emotions for me and for my family. My husband Chris and I have been incredibly happy here in Norwich and we love the county of Norfolk and the people with whom we’ve shared our lives over the past eight years. As we leave here we will take so many happy memories with us - not only of Norwich but of all the places in which we have lived and served - Fareham, Southampton, Portsmouth, Honiton and Westminster. We very much hope that many people will be able to join us on 1 May to give thanks for the many blessings of these past years and to pray that the Cathedral and this wonderful diocese of Norwich will flourish in the years ahead.”
The Revd Dr Peter Doll, Norwich Cathedral’s Canon Librarian and Vice Dean, will be the acting Dean until the new Dean of Norwich is appointed.
Speaking on behalf of the Cathedral’s Chapter, the Revd Dr Peter Doll, said: “Norwich Cathedral has been blessed by the leadership of the Very Revd Jane Hedges. In her time as Dean she has strengthened our relationships with city and county, ensured the flourishing of our musical life into the future, and welcomed ever more diverse audiences with the visit of Dippy the Diplodocus. While the Cathedral community is very sad to see Jane go, we will work together to honour and build on her powerful legacy.”
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, said: “Dean Jane has brought her deep pastoral heart and prayerful attentiveness to the life of Norwich Cathedral and has become a much-respected religious leader in Norfolk and Waveney, as well as the wider Church of England. Her natural warmth and hospitality have been appreciated by many, both on big occasions and at one-to-one meetings, and have always reflected the love of God that we encounter in Jesus. I have also deeply appreciated her wisdom and will miss her and Chris’ friendship.”
The Dean of Norwich was ordained Deaconess in 1980, Deacon in 1987 and Priest in 1994. She was the first woman to be appointed a Residentiary Canon in the Church of England, serving as Canon Pastor at Portsmouth Cathedral. In 2006 she became the first female Canon at Westminster Abbey, moving from there in 2014 to become the 39th Dean of Norwich.
Under the Dean’s tenure, Norwich Cathedral has, among many other things, seen the completion of the Cathedral’s sustainable lighting project From Darkness To Light, raised more than £2.5m for the They Shall Laugh and Sing Music Appeal to fund a major restoration of the Cathedral’s organ and support the Cathedral’s choral music, and hosted the major touring Natural History Museum exhibition Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure.
The Dean, who is retiring just after her 67th birthday and coming up to having served 42 years in ministry, will be moving to Northumberland with her husband Chris.
Picture by Bill Smith