It is with very mixed emotions that we announce today the departure of our Rector, the Revd Canon Simon Cowling, to become the Dean of Wakefield. Whilst we warmly congratulate him on a move that amply recognises his undoubted talents and abilities, it is with great sadness that we will bid farewell to someone who has been both our leader and our friend since joining us in September 2013.
In his own words, ‘I announced on 18 May that I am to be the next Dean of Wakefield. Anne and I will be moving to Wakefield during August, and the date of my formal Installation in Wakefield Cathedral is Saturday 29 September 2018 at 15.00, the Feast of St Michael and All Angels.
The role of a dean in the Church of England combines the leadership of a cathedral community with a responsibility to represent the Church in public life across the diocese. Our young Diocese of Leeds has (uniquely) three cathedrals – Ripon and Bradford, as well as Wakefield – and I am looking forward to working closely with my colleagues in the other two cathedrals.
Anne and I will be leaving the parish of Bolton Abbey, and the community of the Priory Church, with the inevitable mix of emotions: excitement at what lies ahead but with a keen awareness of the poignancy of saying good-bye. Our years here have been blessed by the support and friendship of many people, and we will take with us a trove of happy memories.
From earliest times Christians have been known as followers of the Way, and ever since then the notion of journey – both spiritual and physical – has been central to Christian discipleship. It is the huge privilege of ordained ministers to share the spiritual journey of the communities they lead and serve, always aware that at some point God will call us on an onward physical journey into a new community. That time has now come for me. Further details about my final Sunday at the Priory and my Installation at Wakefield will be published in the July magazine. Meanwhile I ask for your prayers as I begin to make the transition into my new role.
With my own prayers and good wishes,