Jane Hedges to be first female Dean of Norwich

Published 07 February 2014
(Photo: Norwich Cathedral)

The nomination of Venerable Jane Barbara Hedges as Dean of Norwich Cathedral was today confirmed by the Queen.

She is current Canon Steward and Archdeacon of Westminster, and will be the first female dean of Norwich Cathedral in its 900-year history.

She is succeeding the Very Reverend Graham Charles Morell Smith, following his resignation last October.

Commenting on her appointment, Canon Hedges said, "My move from Westminster Abbey to the Deanery of Norwich will be both exciting and challenging.

"I am particularly looking forward to working with Bishop Graham and his senior staff team and getting to know Chapter colleagues and the community at the Cathedral as we explore together how to take forward its ministry within the diocese in imaginative ways.

"Being part of the community at Westminster Abbey has taught me an enormous amount about Benedictine spirituality and hospitality and so it is a great joy to be joining another community where the Benedictine principle of welcoming all people is at the heart of its life.

"My family and I are looking forward to getting to know people throughout the diocese and to exploring the beautiful countryside and coast of East Anglia and to welcoming people to our home in the deanery."

The 58-year-old was educated at Durham University and Cranmer Hall, Durham, and has an honorary doctorate from Portsmouth University.

She served a curacy at Holy Trinity with St Columba, Fareham from 1980 to 1983. She then became team vicar in the Southampton City Centre Team Ministry from 1983 to 1988 before becoming diocesan stewardship adviser in Portsmouth diocese for five years.

From 1993 to 2001 she was canon pastor at Portsmouth Cathedral. From 2001 to 2003 she was priest-in-charge of the Honiton Team Ministry in the Diocese of Exeter, becoming team rector in 2003 and also rural dean.

In 2006 she was appointed canon steward at Westminster Abbey and Archdeacon of Westminster, also becoming sub-dean in August 2013.

Canon Hedges is married to Chris and they have two sons, Jonathan and Adam. Her interests include travelling, sport, walking, animal welfare and entertaining.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverend Graham James, commented, "I am delighted to welcome Jane Hedges to be Dean of Norwich and look forward greatly to working with her. Jane has a wide experience in ministry in parishes, a cathedral and most recently at Westminster Abbey.

"Jane is well known in the Church of England for the quality of her pastoral and teaching ministry. I am sure that she possesses the gifts we need at this stage in the life of Norwich Cathedral and the appointment panel was unanimous in wanting Jane to be our next dean.

"I look forward enormously to her installation on Saturday June 21. Jane and her husband Chris can be assured of a very big welcome to Norwich and the diocese."

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