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Vacancy: Residentiary Canon

Location: Chester Cathedral

With the appointment of Canon Peter Howell-Jones as Dean of Blackburn, and in the light of the intention of the Dean, the Very Revd Professor Gordon McPhate, to retire in May 2018, the Bishop is seeking to appoint a full-time Residentiary Canon for a fixed two year term.  It is anticipated that the successful applicant will be appointed by the Chapter as Vice Dean.  It is anticipated that the new Canon will be installed in the Cathedral on Sunday 3 September.

The Cathedral

Chester Cathedral is an ancient abbey of international importance that has played a significant part in shaping the history of the City.  It continues to play an important part in the spiritual, cultural and civic life of Chester and beyond.  The site includes the Cathedral, with the most complete set of monastic buildings in the country, an estate of 64 additional properties, two scheduled ancient monuments and the largest green spaces within the city walls.

As a major place of Worship, tourist attraction and a community venue, the Cathedral daily hosts many visitors, customers and tenants and operates as a vibrant and diverse destination with a large team of staff and volunteers and does this within tight financial and legislative constraints.

The Role

The role requires an individual who is a gifted Christian leader and team-builder of proven ability whose spirituality, inspiration, energy and humour will harness the talents, loyalty and commitment of all and act as a beacon in Chester, Cheshire and the North West.  The principal features of the role are:

1. To share with the Dean and other Canons and Members of Chapter in the duties of the Chapter as set out in the recently revised Constitution and Statutes.
2. To regularly attend a number of internal and external meetings and committees, including a monthly Chapter meeting.
3. The allocation of specific duties and offices within the Cathedral as agreed by the Chapter. 
4. It is anticipated that the Residentiary Canon will also be appointed Vice Dean, working with the Dean and Executive Director to ensure the smooth running of the Cathedral.  This requires excellent financial awareness, communication and negotiation skills and the willingness to liaise effectively with external organisations and to be a figurehead for Chester Cathedral.  The role of Vice Dean requires the ability to understand a broad range of activities and hold them in balance within the organisation.  These include rental property management, heritage property management, tourism, large event management, financial management and human resources.
5. The Vice Dean will also be responsible for having oversight of other cathedral clergy and the Executive Director in the absence of the Dean.
6. The Vice Dean will be provided with a desk in the cathedral office as well as having use of a private office in their residence.

Person Specification

• There is a canonical requirement under Canon C21 that a residentiary Canon must have been in holy orders for at least 6 years.
• Exceptional communication skills with the ability to manage internal and external relationships and represent the cathedral effectively with confidence.
• Team building and team working skills.
• Excellent financial awareness and the ability to understand key financial reports.
• Ability to take a strategic perspective and maintain a keen eye for detail.
• An inspirational leader of integrity.
• Experience of large complex organisations or initiatives.

Acting Dean

During the vacancy for a Dean, the Bishop is required to appoint one of the residentiary canons as Acting Dean, after consultation with the Chapter.  That consultation will await confirmation of the date of the Dean’s retirement.

Conditions of Service

The stipend will be as recommended by the Central Stipends Authority.  From 1 April 2017 this will be £26,278.  The usual removal and relocation grants will be paid.

The Residentiary Canon will be invited to occupy 5 Abbey Street, a generously sized Georgian house near the Cathedral, with a walled garden, unless other arrangements are mutually agreed.

The post will be fixed-term, for 2 years, under the provisions of the Common Tenure legislation.  The post holder will be free to leave within that period subject to notice of 3 months.

Corollary Arrangements

The appointee might be ‘seconded’ from his or her current post, and arrangements made to provide additional ministerial cover on a temporary basis until the appointee returns to his or her permanent post.  This would be for discussion in a particular case, with the relevant Bishop and other interested parties.  Agreement in principle would be needed before an applicant could be short-listed.

Alternatively, the appointee may simply be available to take up the post, albeit on a fixed-term basis.

Appointment Process

Applications should be made to the Bishop (Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster, Bishop’s House, Abbey Square, Chester CH1 2JD.  Email: ) using the attached standard form.

The Bishop will be advised on the appointment by an Advisory Group, including the Dean and other members of the Chapter and the Cathedral community.

The closing date is Wednesday 19 April.  Interviews will be held on Friday 5 May.

Those wishing to discuss the post informally are invited to contact either the Dean (Very Revd Professor Gordon McPhate, The Deanery, 7 Abbey Street, Chester CH1 2JF.  Email: or the Bishop.  Full details of the Cathedral and its life are available on its web-site.

Application Form




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