Revd Canon Professor Martyn Percy to be the new Dean of Christ Church

The Queen has approved that the Reverend Canon Professor Martyn William Percy, BA (Hons), MEd, PhD, Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon, be appointed Dean of Christ Church, Oxford in succession to the Very Reverend Christopher Andrew Lewis BA, PhD, on his resignation.Martyn Percy cropped

Professor Martyn Percy was educated at Bristol University, Sheffield University and at King’s College, London. He trained for the ordained ministry at Durham University. Since 2004, he has been the Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon. The College also incorporates the Oxford Ministry Course, the West of England Ministerial Training Course, and the Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology (a research and consultancy centre).

Professor Percy is a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford, Professorial Research Fellow at Heythrop College, London and Visiting Professor of Theological Education at King’s College, London. He is an Honorary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral, and a former Canon Theologian at Sheffield Cathedral. He has served as Curate at St. Andrew’s Bedford, and then as Chaplain and Director of Theology and Religious Studies at Christ’s College, Cambridge. From 1997 to 2004 he was the Director of the Lincoln Theological Institute for the Study of Religion and Society.

Martyn has served as a Director and Council member of the Advertising Standards Authority, and as a member of the Independent Complaints Panel for the Portman Group (the self-regulating body for the alcoholic drinks industry). He is currently a Commissioner of the Direct Marketing Authority as well as an Advisor to the British Board of Film Classification. Since 2003 he has co-ordinated the Society for the Study of Anglicanism at the American Academy of Religion. He writes on Christianity and contemporary culture and modern ecclesiology. His recent books include Anglicanism: Confidence, Commitment and Communion (2013) and Thirty-Nine New Articles: An Anglican Landscape of Faith (2013). Professor Percy is 51, and married to the theologian the Revd. Dr. Emma Percy, who is Chaplain and Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford. They have 2 sons.

Rejoicing as the Revd Dr Helen-Ann Macleod Hartley is consecrated as Bishop of Waikato and Taranaki

Helen-Ann trained for ordination on the Oxford Ministry Course at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and was ordained in 2007, writes Martyn Percy.  She served her curacies at Wheatley, near Oxford, and then Littlemore, Oxford alongside teaching New Testament at Cuddesdon.  In 2011 Helen-Ann was appointed as Dean of Tikanga Pakeha (caring for and overseeing the European students) at St. John’s College, Auckland, New Zealand.  The College has three Tikanga (which are in effect, ‘formational communities/cultures’), the other two covering Polynesia and Maori.

Helen-Ann Hartley with Martyn Percy.

Helen-Ann Hartley with Martyn Percy.

In the summer of 2013 it was announced that Helen-Ann had been elected as the 7th Bishop of Waikato and Taranaki.  This is a unique diocese in the Anglican Communion, as it has two bishops who serve as co-equals, sharing jurisdiction and in the pastoral care of the diocese.  The present Archbishop is Philip Richardson (Tikanga Pakeha), who has his cathedral in Taranaki.  The consecration was a wonderful service, with hundreds attending from across the diocese, and also the wider Communion.  The Maori Archbishop (Brown Turei) and Tikanga Pasefika Archbishop, Winston Halapua, shared in the consecration of Helen-Ann, along with Bishop Victoria Matthews and others.  Myles Hartley played the organ for the service, which gave the service a special ‘family feel’.

It was wonderful to have two former Cuddesdon ordinands present – Colin Datchler, now a Vicar in Wellington, NZ; and Nick Brown, Vicar of Louth in Lincolnshire.  In fact, it felt like something of a Cuddesdon Day.  Bishop Stephen Pickard (Professorial Research Fellow at Cuddesdon from 2011-12) preached the sermon.  And the Very Revd Peter Rickman (Dean of Waikato Cathedral) and the Very Revd Jamie Allen (Dean of Taranaki Cathedral) both trained at Cuddesdon.

With Helen-Ann’s consecration, an important and timely new chapter in church history has been written.  Helen-Ann is the first English woman to be trained in the Church of England to become an Anglican bishop.  That this happened in 2014 is also significant.  Seventy years ago, in 1944, Bishop R O Hall ordained the first woman to the priesthood – a daring and prophetic move in the dark days of the Second World War.

Hall was the Anglican Bishop of Hong Kong, and in 1944 made proper provision for the pastoral and priestly oversight of refugees in Macau.  Hall ordained Li Tim Oi, who then ministered to refugees in Macau, which as a neutral Portuguese colony, had not been overrun by the Japanese during the Second World War.  Hall had trained at Cuddesdon at the end of the First World War.

So, 70 years on from Bishop Hall ordaining Li Tim Oi, we rejoice with the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki in their appointment of Helen-Ann as their seventh bishop.  And we pray for Helen-Ann too – that she may have the strength, wisdom and vision needed for this new work.