New Sub Dean of Christ Church appointed


10 Downing Street this morning announced the appointment of a new Sub Dean of Christ Church Cathedral

A new Sub Dean of Christ Church Cathedral has been appointed in succession to Canon Edmund Newey who is leaving to take up the post of Rector of Rugby in the Diocese of Coventry.
The new Sub Dean is the Revd Richard Peers, who is currently Director of Education for the Diocese of Liverpool and CEO of Liverpool Diocesan Schools Trust. Father Richard, who is 54, trained and worked as a teacher before being ordained in 1993. He has exercised a combined ministry in teaching and as a priest ever since.

Before moving to Liverpool in 2016, Father Richard was Head Teacher of Trinity All Through School, Lewisham. He has served in parishes in the Dioceses of York, Portsmouth and Southwark, and at the moment has Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Lichfield where he is assistant priest in a rural benefice of six parishes. In addition he is Superior of the Sodality of Mary, Mother of Priests, a dispersed religious community with sixty members around the world.

The role of Sub Dean is a wide-ranging one and extends across the joint foundation of Christ Church. As well as having responsibility for the day-to-day life of the Cathedral and overseeing the pastoral care of the congregation, the Sub Dean serves as Vice Chair of the Cathedral School, has oversight of the 80 Christ Church livings, and is a full member of the Governing Body of Christ Church.

Welcoming the appointment, the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, said “Richard’s combined expertise and experience in education and the Church will prove to be a rich resource for us all at Christ Church, and for the many and varied constituencies that we serve more widely. “His broad spirituality – involvement in New Wine, a minister and priest in his local rural group of churches, and the Superior of a company of priests in the Anglican Catholic tradition – will bring us considerable depth and breadth. We look forward to welcoming Richard and his partner Jim to the life of our community here.”

Father Richard said: “Learning, prayer and community have woven themselves into my work and life. I am looking forward immensely to working, praying and learning as part of the community at Christ Church and am grateful to be called to be part of this institution that balances them in its life.

“Having spent my teenage years in Reading I am delighted to be returning to the Diocese of Oxford and to serving in the Cathedral as it serves the whole diocese.”

Father Richard is expected to take up his new post later this year, but arrangements are yet to be formalised because of the pandemic. Father Richard’s interests include contemporary music, poetry, economics and politics. He also enjoys visiting gardens. He is a keen blogger and tweets as @mission_priest.

Join in a cathedral celebration of pilgrimage

A series of events designed to promote and celebrate pilgrimage will take place in Oxford’s Cathedral over the next year as part of a national initiative. The year 2020 has been designated the Year of Cathedrals, Year of Pilgrimage by the Association of English Cathedrals.

Family hat-trick as Mark becomes a Canon


The Humphriss family was celebrating on Saturday as they now have a trio of canons in their tribe.

Mark Humphriss, who became our Diocesan Secretary in July, joined his father, the Revd Canon Reg Humphriss, and sister, Clare Turnbull, as a Cathedral Canon.

Rev Rachel Carnegie, Rev Dr Phillip Tovey, Mark Humphriss, Rev Felicity Scroggie, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher (Bishop of Dorchester), the Very Revd Martyn Percy (Dean), Rosemary Tucker, Darren Oliver (Diocesan Registrar), Rev David Tyler, Rev Toby Wright.
Photo: Steven Buckley

When they are installed, Lay and Honorary Canons become members of the College of Canons. These are people who have given distinguished service to the Church and serve as ambassadors for their Cathedral in their parish, life or ministry.

Mark was installed a Canon in a special ceremony at Oxford’s Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday (January 25). “I feel really humbled to be invited so early on in my time in the role to receive this honour alongside people who have done amazing things across the Diocese,” says Mark.

Reg was installed as a Canon of Canterbury Cathedral by Archbishop Robert Runcie in 1985. He had first worked as a Youth Chaplain and part of the Education Team in 1963. After spells in two parishes, one in Faversham and another in Croydon, he returned to Canterbury in 1976.  Reg was the Rector of St Martin’s (the oldest church in England in continual use) and St Paul’s, and then in Saltwood. When he retired in 2001 he was installed Canon Emeritus and remains active, regularly taking services in Canterbury Cathedral and across Canterbury Diocese.

Clare has been Head of Lanesborough School, the Choir School for Guildford Cathedral, for 13 years. She was installed as a Lay Canon of Guildford Cathedral in 2012 in recognition of the close work and support that the school provides for the boy choristers.

“The organist of the Cathedral and I work very closely together to ensure that all safeguarding, pastoral, academic and practical arrangements are covered so that our boys can thrive both at school and the cathedral,” says Clare.

Reg added: “I am delighted that Mark joins Clare and me to become a trio of canons in one family. My only sadness is that my late wife Sue was not at the service in person, as I am sure that she would join me in saying how delighted we are and grateful for the opportunity of service it affords to those in the church and the community.”

Mark joined us directly from being University Secretary for the University of Bath. The former Reading University student has previously held significant roles working for the national Church. Read more about Mark here.

Check out our Facebook gallery of photos from Saturday’s service.


New clergy for Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire

A former Naval nurse, a former barrister as well as a woman who has worked as a BBC presenter, and a man who has been a horticulturalist are among the 30 people set to become the Thames Valley’s newest clergy. The 30 men and women will be ordained as deacons in special services set to take place at Oxford’s Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday 29 June.

The newly ordained Deacons will mainly serve as curates in parishes across the Diocese of Oxford, which covers Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

Below are details of the candidates, where they are to serve and a brief biography of each one.

Oxford – to be ordained at 10am 

• Nikolaj Christensen – Iffley
• Thomas Howell – St Andrew’s, Oxford
• Clare Leal – Summertown
• Thomas Murray – St Andrew’s, Oxford

Reading – to be ordained at 10am

• Amy Cavender – Greyfriars, Reading
• John Freeman – Greyfriars, Reading
• Julie Howell – West Downland
• Ian Miller – Maindenhead, St Andrew and St Mary Magdalen
• Robin Sharples – Hungerord and Denford
• Andrew Storch – Caversham, Thameside and Mapledurham
• Katherine Weston- Basildon with Aldworth and Ashampstead

Dorchester – to be ordained at 2pm

• Patricia Bird – Charlbury with Shortampton
• Iona Cheyne – Chase
• Andrea Colbrook – Ridgeway
• Jacob Eggertsen – St Paul’s, Banbury
• Michael Madden – Hanborough and Freeland
• Judith Marshall – Chipping Norton
• Andrew McCulloch – Cogges and South Leigh
• Yvonne Mullins – Shelswell
• Catherine Schneider – Cumnor

Buckingham – to be ordained at 6pm

• Benjamin Clarke – Gerrards Cross and Fulmer
• Claire Gerard – Hazlemere
• Stephen Hallett – Water Eaton
• Pat Kerr – Risborough
• Isaac Knight – Flackwell Heath
• Suzanne Johnson – Taplow and Dropmore
• Tracy Jones – Hughenden
• Kevin Lovell – Prestwood and Great Hampden
• Mark Nelson – Addington
• Sally Prendergast – Wendover and Halton


Nikolaj Christensen
Nikolaj Christensen grew up in Denmark as the son of a Lutheran pastor. He first moved to the UK in 2011 and has lived in and around Oxford for most of the time since then. After ordination he will serve at Iffley with Rose Hill and Donnington in Oxford.

Thomas Howell
I’m married to Caroline. We’re parents and foster parents of five amazing children (aged 10 – 16). I’m a school chaplain and will continue to be whilst serving at St Andrew’s. Prior to chaplaincy I worked in a secondary comprehensive and for a mission agency both in the UK and overseas.

Clare Leal
Clare is married with a teenage son. Originally from South East London, she came to Oxford 25 years ago via Leeds and has spent her working life in social housing organisations in all three places. Clare is an Oblate of the Community of St Mary the Virgin.

Thomas Murray
Tom is married to Gin, with a two-year-old daughter Kitty and another baby on the way. Tom loves all things sporty and is looking forward to finding a football team in Oxford, as well as playing cricket for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI. Tom is also interested in military chaplaincy.

Amy Cavender
Some say embarrassing and funny. I was born in Bristol 45 years ago, rammed full of hope and appreciated the chaos of life from early on. I’ve learnt more through mistakes, loss and silence than through academic study – and found peace in strange places laughing and crying with broken people like myself… I savour how God is with us all and how we respond to that love with each other.

John Freeman
John first sensed a calling to ordination while studying for a degree in Biochemistry, and went on to train at St Mellitus College while serving as a worship pastor. He’s married to Steph, and they’re both looking forward to being part of all that God is doing in Reading.

Julie Howell
Prior to training at Cuddesdon, Julie has spent a career in risk management. She has gone from “building sites to building the kingdom”. She enjoys walking, cycling and the great outdoors, and feels blessed to be serving God and the people of the West Downland Benefice, in such a beautiful part of Berkshire.

Ian Miller
Ian Miller is married to Tamsin and has four daughters. He studied history in Berlin, Oxford and Warwick before qualifying in law. He practised as a barrister in London for 18 years and was Chairman of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship.

Robin Sharples
Robin followed a long road to ordination since graduating in Theology at London Bible College in 1982. He pursued an educational career leading to his current role with the Oxford Diocese Schools department. Along the way he has been a storyteller and bass guitarist, useful skills for any minister!

Andrew Storch
Why would a well-established criminal defence solicitor abandon his law firm and spend six years training to be a vicar? Two things: the four-part call I felt since I was 19, and a growing conviction that having helped people in the here and now I should be helping people with the now and forever.

Katherine Weston
I am excited, if somewhat daunted, to have been called by God to ministry after a career in business at director level and latterly as an independent consultant and coach (leadership and change management). Outside the church, my passions are music, real tennis, gardening, travelling, reading, family, and friends.

Patricia Bird
I was born in Kenya and have lived in various countries. I’m married to Andy and we have three children and three grandchildren. My first career was nursing, second was teaching, then I became a Licensed Lay Minister and after finally responding to God’s call to the priesthood, I realise this is where I belong!

Iona Cheyne
I have lived in Oxfordshire for nine years with my husband and one small, excitable dog. I started training for lay ministry but soon felt an overwhelming call to be ordained. I’m looking forward to the challenges, rewards and joy of serving God in a rural benefice.

Andrea Colbrook
With a background in district nursing and counselling, I was a hospital chaplain before beginning my ordination training. I am married to Adrian and have two daughters, now at university. I am passionate about practical pastoral theology and am looking forward to my curacy in rural ministry.

Jacob Eggertsen
I’m married to Nicola, and we have three girls aged five, three, and eight months. Both Nicola and I are teachers by trade but, for the past four years, we’ve been at Oak Hill (North London) where I completed the MTheol course. In my spare time, I enjoy brewing beer.

Michael Madden
Mike was born in Hemel Hempstead, is married, and has three sons and one granddaughter. His first degree is in engineering from the University of Lancaster where he was a member of the Christian Union, and worshipped at the local Anglican church. Since leaving university Mike has combined a career in the energy industry, (working in over 45 different countries) with serving in various churches in a number of roles. He was also awarded a Masters in Theology from the London School of Theology in 2012, and trained for ordination at St Mellitus College, London between 2017 and 2019.

Judith Marshall
Judith is to serve in Chipping Norton where she has been living and worshipping for over forty years. Having retired after 36 years teaching at the local comprehensive, latterly founding and running the school’s inclusion unit, she feels God is ‘re-tyre-ing’ the wheels, so she’s excited about this new journey.

Andrew McCulloch
Born in Glasgow, Andy studied Engineering then joined a management consultancy in London. He lived at a rehabilitation home before moving to Witney to work with disadvantaged young people. He joined Cogges Church as Operations Director and trained at St Mellitus. Heather and Andy have three children, one was adopted.

Yvonne Mullins
Originally from South Africa and having worked in education for many years, I embarked on a new path in 2016, training at Cuddesdon. I enjoy sharing God’s love with people of all ages and all stages of life by offering abundant hospitality, opportunities to deepen our faith and build loving communities.

Catherine Schneider
I grew up in Hartlepool and came to Oxford University as a student. I then worked with inner-city communities in Liverpool, trained as an NHS manager, got married and had three children. I’ve worked locally in a playgroup, taught French and German and given debt advice for Christians Against Poverty.

Benjamin Clarke
I grew up in Wales and have always loved the outdoors and rugby. After studying theology at St Andrews, I worked in schools in Suffolk and London before considering ordination. I’m married to Lianna and we have two small children, Isla and Rory. To relax I read historical fiction and enjoy single malt whisky.

Claire Gerard
After two years at Trinity College Bristol, where I have loved training for ministry, I am looking forward to joining Hazlemere Church as Assistant Curate. With my family, we are excited to see what God is doing in our new parish, and for the next leg of the adventure.

Stephen Hallett
After 26 years with a global American company with European travel, God wants me to be a vicar in one of the most socially deprived areas of Bletchley. My identity was linked to my sales, but now will my true success be using my time and skills in serving others?

Pat Kerr
My name is Pat Kerr. I grew up in Belfast and moved to England 10 years ago. I am a husband to a beautiful wife and father to two beautiful children. In my previous life, I was a youth worker, supporting young people in peace and reconciliation work before God called me to England. I’m happiest having fun with family and friends. I like to play sports, photography and see how God speaks through the creative.

Isaac Knight
Isaac has spent three years training for ordination at Wycliffe Hall, and is married to Ruth, a Medical Statistician at Oxford University. Isaac is particularly interested in the relationship between faith and sport and having been a Leicester City fan for many years, is now certain that miracles can happen.

Suzanne Johnson
As a wife, mother, and grandmother living in West London, the last thing I expected was a call to serve God as an ordained minister; God, however had different ideas. My idea of bliss, (scuba-diving in sunlit seas) has changed completely as I dive into God’s love by serving His people.

Tracey Jones
Tracey was an ex Naval nurse working in Accident & Emergency and volunteering with the homeless when she finally said, “Yes” to God’s call to ordained ministry. Having lived in the South Pacific, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, she hasn’t lost her love of water and occasionally escapes to the river with her kayak.

Kevin Lovell
Until 2016 I ran a career in adult learning and outsourcing alongside being a self-supporting Licensed Lay Minister. Then, following a ‘nudge’ from God, I left work and started Pioneer Ministry training. A call to full time ordained ministry became clear, I now look forward to bringing my pioneering tendencies to Prestwood and Great Hampden.

Mark Nelson
Having been a horticulturist for 20 plus years, it is now time to tend and nurture a different type of garden. I love building community, seeing others flourish, reggae music and knowing that Jesus wants me for a sunbeam obviously. I like to cycle because I love food.

Sally Prendergast
Sally creates bespoke clergy stoles, paints, and teaches needlecraft. Her previous careers include work as a BBC radio presenter, probation officer and teacher. Sally lives with husband Patrick and Harry the English setter. their four adult children live across the UK. She relaxes with crochet, nature and time with friends.

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HUNDREDS of people flocked to Oxford’s Christ Church Cathedral to watch 12 new people become Licensed Lay Ministers in a

Your chance to create an icon

IN January 2017, the Cathedral Education Department held an event, dedicated to icons, for adults. Read more

Goring CE School pupils on song at annual Headteachers’ Service

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CHILDREN from Goring CE Primary School provided the choir for the Annual Service for Headteachers and Governors at Christ Church Cathedral.

Light was the theme for the event, which attracted hard working headteachers and school governors from Church schools across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The Rt Revd Steven Croft, the Bishop of Oxford, preached and presided, with readings and prayers done by the diocesan schools team and heads and governors.

Headteachers, governors and schools staff enjoy worship at Oxford’s Christ Church Cathedral.

Young musicians from Goring CE Primary School played during the service.

Jeanette Millward, headteacher at St Peter’s, CE Primary School, Cassington, reads the intercessions.

Children from Goring CE Primary School provide the worship.


School children celebrate St Frideswide

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A BERKSHIRE primary school and staff at Christ Church Cathedral teamed up to conduct a pilgrimage to celebrate the life of Oxford’s patron saint.

Yattendon CE Primary School suspends its teaching timetable one day per year to celebrate the life of a remarkable Anglo Saxon princess who fled to Oxford to escape the attention of Algar, the pagan king of Mercia.

Princess Frideswide healed many people and a well from the legend, which was reputed to have healing properties, is near to Yattendon and is the pilgrimage destination.
To celebrate the patronal festival each class spent the morning on creative activities inspired by the saint and were joined by history expert Ruth Buckley and Christ Church Cathedral Education Officer Jackie Holderness.

The younger children acted out the story of the princess’ adventures, while Years 3 and 4 played a game, which involved the children reading short extracts from the saint’s legend, written in verse. In the Cathedral, Edward Burne-Jones’ window tells the story in stained glass and the children had to match a laminated picture of the window to each verse.
The older children performed a group drama about the life of St Frideswide. After lunch the whole school gathered for the pilgrimage to the holy well for a service.

Jackie said: “While history and tradition are important, the story of Frideswide seems to resonate with the Yattendon children primarily as an example of witness. The children seem to appreciate her example of trust in God, to whom she had dedicated her life.

“They are also very aware of Frideswide’s compassion and kindness, courage and determination, and her desire for a contemplative and prayerful life.”

Photo: Children enjoy circle dancing during the day’s activities (Christ Church, Oxford)

School’s Bible service brings an impromptu audience


A SCHOOL is being held up as a shining example after organising their own service of worship and bible-giving ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral.

Many schools make Bibles a gift to pupils as they leave in Year Six, but St Nicholas Primary School in Maidenhead wanted to ensure that pupils had their own Bibles for RE lessons throughout the school.

Children from St Nicholas School are shown around Christ Church Cathedral.

So a Year Three visit to Christ Church was arranged and pupils were presented with their Bibles. Before their visit, the children prepared prayers and chose a hymn to sing that, when performed, drew an unexpected audience from other visitors to the cathedral.

Class teacher Ellen Guest said: “The trip was made even more special when we had time at the end to sing an a capella hymn we had prepared, share our own prayer and hand out Bibles provided to us by our school PTA.

“The sound of the children singing in such a special location was heart-warming and gave us all goose-bumps and even some tears were shed!”
More than 2,500 pupils visit Christ Church Cathedral every year, learning about its architecture and history, as well as the story of Oxford’s patron saint, St Frideswide. The cathedral’s education team also leaves the hallowed walls to visit about 50 schools per year.

Christ Church education officer Jackie Holderness said: “Each and every school visit is tailor-made to match the teachers’ topic focus and learning objectives and the size and age range of the group.

“We try to make educational visits as interactive as possible, with role play and other activities, designed to bring the learning to life.
“The education team volunteers and I felt very privileged to be part of this simple service and it was most moving to note that all the other visitors inside the cathedral fell quiet to listen to the children singing: ‘Here I am, Lord’.”

After the service the children said they loved their visit because they found the cathedral ‘special and rare’ and had ‘lots of fascinating facts hidden inside it’.