About the role
Following consultation with people connected to the life of the Cathedral, diocese, city and region, the appointment panel have identified several areas of focus for the ministry of the next Dean:
Re-articulating the vision for the ministry of the Cathedral in a way that is consistent with and aids the achievement of the "Common Ground in Sacred Space" project, the Mission Action Plan and the Diocesan Vision; Reviewing the Cathedral's organisational structure in light of the re-articulated vision
The Mission Action Plan has provided the foundation of the vision for the Cathedral’s ministry, and the next Dean will have the opportunity to lead Chapter and the wider Cathedral community in rearticulating the vision in light of a number of exciting new developments within the Cathedral and wider diocese.
The “Common Ground in Sacred Space” project - if successful at the Stage 2 bid - will give significant opportunities for the Cathedral to reimagine its mission and ministry to the City and wider region. This is also an exciting time for the Diocese with a new vision for “growing church bringing hope”. The new Dean will be able to develop the Cathedral’s contribution to the diocesan vision, and engage with other churches in the City Centre (including a new Resource Church) to reach out in mission.
The next Dean will also need to ensure that the organisational structures can support the renewed vision for the Cathedral’s ministry, and will bring a passion for Newcastle Cathedral to be a hub for worship, mission and hospitality.
Leading the Cathedral into a new phase of growth –numerical, spiritual and missional
The number of people in the regular congregations in Newcastle Cathedral has been shrinking, and the next Dean needs to be alert to opportunities for growing the church. Existing initiatives such as “Night Church” and the Street Pastors provide opportunities for the Cathedral to engage in mission.
Newcastle Cathedral offers the opportunity for people to encounter God through the beauty of liturgical worship and the choral tradition. There is scope to build on this to perhaps develop a more clearly defined “house style” of worship for the Cathedral. The choirs are going from strength to strength and the next Dean will have the opportunity to use the excellence of the choral worship as a foundation for mission and discipleship. There is also the potential to develop new services that will offer styles of worship from across the breadth of the Anglican traditions.
There is currently no formal Canon Pastor within the Cathedral, and the next Dean will need to think about how the congregations are nurtured and supported in their discipleship and cared for pastorally.
The next Dean will be someone who is focussed on mission, and has a track record of growing congregations.
Providing direction and leadership to Chapter and the wider Cathedral community
The Dean has a particular role to chair Chapter and lead the wider Cathedral community, and the next Dean will need to be mindful of the recommendations in the Cathedrals Working Group draft report and the impact these could have on Cathedral governance in the future.
Mention has already been made of the need to ensure the staffing structures within the Cathedral support the refreshed vision, and the next Dean will also need to consider how Chapter, the Cathedral Council, and College of Canons all work together and the role they each play.
The next Dean will need to bring experience of leading change, and be someone who can facilitate collegial decision making. S/he will need to demonstrate gravitas to win the confidence and respect of others.
Integrating and embedding the “Common Ground in Sacred Space” project fully into the life of the Cathedral
The project has been a long time in the planning, and previous applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund had not been successful. With Stage 1 approval now given, the focus has shifted to preparing the Stage 2 application - most of which will be completed before the next Dean takes up post.
Chapter have delegated the day-to-day running of the project to a project board of which the Dean is a member. A new project manager has been appointed and will take up post shortly.
There are many opportunities that the project will bring, but there are also a number of challenges - not least the extra work for the staff, the challenge of maintaining the liveliness of the cathedral congregations amid the turmoil of construction and refurbishment, and the sheer amount of determination required to see the HLF project through to successful completion.
It is essential that the next Dean draws the project into the mainstream life of the Cathedral so that it is not seen as something extra or additional to Cathedral life, but that it is a tool which will help the Cathedral achieve its vision, and something which all involved in the life of the Cathedral can support and contribute to in some way.
Whilst a significant amount of the match-funding has already been pledged, the next Dean will need to be the public face of the project, and be able to promote and champion the benefits to the city and region with a view to raising money from philanthropists, businesses and other sources. Should the Stage 2 HLF bid not be successful, then this will of course significantly alter the task ahead for the new Dean, and s/he will need to show resilience to respond to this, and be able to lead the Cathedral community in managing the future impact for mission and ministry.
Developing the long-term financial sustainability of the Cathedral
Newcastle Cathedral is facing financial challenges. It has been running with a significant deficit budget for several years. The commercial operations are a particularly important source of income, especially hiring the space for external events, and the HLF project should enhance these possibilities in the future.
The running of the café was outsourced to a commercial provided about a year ago. Despite managing to increase its customer base and footfall, the commercial operator decided to cease operation of the café for financial reasons at the end of February. The kitchen and cathedral hall are now back under the control of the Dean and Chapter who will be re-considering the most appropriate way to use the spaces. There are no immediate plans to reopen the café as a commercial operation.
The next Dean will need to work with Chapter and the wider Cathedral community, and seek the advice of others, including the Church Commissioners, to develop ways to make the Cathedral financially sustainable. Financial acumen, and an understanding of the challenges of Cathedral finances are therefore essential in the next Dean.
Building on and enhancing the Cathedral’s relationships within the diocese and with business, civic and community leaders across the city and region
Cathedrals have a particular role to play in civic life and in the public square and Newcastle is no exception. The Cathedral is held in high regard by civic leaders and plays its part in the ceremonial life of the region. However, the Cathedral is perhaps not as prominent in the life of the city as it could be. The next Dean will need to build on existing relationships and develop new partnerships with leaders in all sectors of the city people in these sectors to promote the Cathedral and how it can serve the city.