'If I lambast bankers I've lost the plot', says new Dean of Rochester Cathedral
The Very Rev Dr Mark Beach, the new Dean of
Rochester Cathedral, faces similar challenges to any hard-pressed
business, but his product is very different, as he told Trevor
Sturgess in this exclusive interview.
Mark Beach has found it harder to reach the business community
than other sectors during his church life.
That is why he embraces the Rochester Cathedral Business Guild,
which is so active in the diocese.
He says: "Experience shows it's much harder to build links with
the business community than it is either with the voluntary or
public sector, which is why the Guild is such a good idea. I hope
we can build on that."
He says every faith should engage with business on mutual
Yet he believes business is suspicious that the church only
wants its money.
The Very Rev Dr Mark
Beach is the new Dean of Rochester Cathedral
He says: "If the private sector in all its many forms thinks
we're only interested in them because of their potential support
financially, they are going to walk away."
Dr Beach, 50, does not believe in criticising business,
particularly bankers, for wrongdoing.
"The moment I stand up in the pulpit and lambast somebody,
locally or nationally, is the moment I've lost the plot."
Making money was vital to growth, "but it can't go
The Dean's role is to manage the cathedral and diocesan
He oversees 40 staff and funds of more than £16m, a far cry from
the four staff and £250,000 he managed in his last post, in
He chairs the board and Chapter of ordained clergy and lay
"We have a product in two bits - the cathedral which we market very heavily and the worshipping life of the cathedral...” – The Very Rev Dr Mark Beach
He says: "We have a product and our product has two bits – the
cathedral, which we market very heavily, and the worshipping life
of the cathedral."
The cathedral has a £4.5m development plan to transform the
crypt to showcase Textus Roffensis, the oldest book in
The Heritage Lottery Fund is stumping up £3.7m, but the rest
comes from local contribution.
Dr Beach says: "It is possible to run the church more leanly and
effectively, but ultimately the goal has to be to sell more
product, by which I mean convincing more people of the truths of
Jesus which, ultimately, is our product."
He says his main aims are to engage with the whole of the Medway
community and strengthen the bottom line.
He says: "At the moment, we set budgets that are pretty
frightening and we either just make it or just don’t make it.
"There must be rigorous control on expenditure and a planned
approach to buildings.
"But you're never sure when the next wall is going to fall