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Canon Philip Hesketh named as new Dean of Rochester Cathedral

By Clare Freeman

The Reverend Canon Dr Philip Hesketh has been appointed as the new Dean for Rochester Cathedral, the Diocese has announced.

Dr Hesketh has been Acting Dean since the former Dean, Dr Mark Beach, resigned in January last year.

Dr Hesketh said: "I feel it is an enormous privilege to have been asked to be Dean at this time. The Cathedral faces enormous challenges and I am confident that together under God we can meet them.

Dean Philip Hesketh with Sophie Countess of Wessex
Dean Philip Hesketh with Sophie Countess of Wessex

"I have been truly humbled by the warmth of support I have received during my time as Acting Dean, and by the confidence and trust that others have placed in me.

"It is important to remember that no one is an island, and it is only together that we can be what God wants us to be. Each of us has been called to serve in various ways and to make a difference.

"I look forward to continuing the bonds of friendship that have already been forged over many years, and building upon them for the greater good of the community and the furtherance of the kingdom of God."

Philip Hesketh with the Zodiac tiling near the high alter in Rochester Cathedral
Philip Hesketh with the Zodiac tiling near the high alter in Rochester Cathedral

The appointment was announced on the Diocese of Rochester and Rochester Cathedral's website today.

The job was advertised in the summer and a shortlist was drawn up at the beginning of this year.

As Acting Dean, Dr Hesketh has been overseeing the refurbishment of the historic library and the redevelopment of the crypt, transforming it into an open exhibition space.

Dr Hesketh with Sir Robert Worcester at the opening of the Textus Roffensis exhibition
Dr Hesketh with Sir Robert Worcester at the opening of the Textus Roffensis exhibition

The Right Reverend James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester said: "I warmly welcome the news that Canon Philip Hesketh is to be the next Dean of Rochester.

"Phil was nominated to the Crown for this post through a full and open process, during which he demonstrated his capacity to lead the Cathedral community in the next phase of its life.

"Phil is already well-known to the Cathedral and wider community, not least through his recent time as Acting Dean. I assure him of my prayers as he prepares to move into the substantive post, and I look forward to working closely with him in the years to come."

The former Dean, Dr Mark Beach, with Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, at his installation as Dean in 2012
The former Dean, Dr Mark Beach, with Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, at his installation as Dean in 2012

The former Dean, Dr Mark Beach, left more than a year ago to take up a job with a London-based charity.

Dr Beach withdrew from his high-profile role after separating from his wife, something that has raised “issues for some within the cathedral community” according to a statement from the Church of England.

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