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Dean of Rochester Cathedral, Dr Mark Beach, has resigned

By Chris Hunter

Dr Mark Beach has resigned from his position as Dean of Rochester Cathedral, the Diocese of Rochester has announced.

A statement from the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev James Langstaff, said Dr Beach had resigned voluntarily and was taking on a new role outside ordained ministry, as the Director of the Blackfriars Settlement - a London-based charity that provides community services and support.

The Dean of Rochester Cathedral The Very Rev Dr Mark Beach has stepped aside. Picture: Steve Crispe
The Dean of Rochester Cathedral The Very Rev Dr Mark Beach has stepped aside. Picture: Steve Crispe

The statement continued: "He will be leaving the Cathedral with immediate effect. Dr Beach has been Dean since May 2012 during which time a great deal has been achieved in the life of the Cathedral. I ask the Cathedral community and others to continue to hold Dr Beach and his family in their prayers, and I wish him well in his new role.

"I also wish to thank the Cathedral community, including volunteers, staff and Chapter, for their continued commitment and hard work over recent months. I look forward to working closely with Chapter as future plans take shape."

The Bishop also announced that the Reverend Canon Philip Hesketh would take on the role of Acting Dean.

News of Dr Beach's resignation follows an announcement earlier in January, that he was to withdraw from a high profile role after separating from his wife.

A statement from the Church of England was issued explaining Dr Beach’s estrangement from his wife Annabel had raised some issues for some within the cathedral community.

It is understood that other senior clerics had stepped into carry out his duties since August, including conducting services on Remembrance Sunday and over Christmas.

Dr Beach, 52, was appointed to the post nearly three years ago under what is believed to be a seven-year contract.

Dr Mark Beach has resigned from his position as Dean of Rochester Cathedral
Dr Mark Beach has resigned from his position as Dean of Rochester Cathedral

A former University of Kent theology student, he said at the time of his appointment: “I am delighted to be coming back to Kent.

“I often passed over the railway bridge and looked admiringly at the cathedral and castle, but never dreamt I would one day live next door.”

He took over from the previous Dean, the Very Rev Adrian Newman, in May 2012. One of his first tasks was heading up a £5 million lottery bid, including a project to create an exhibition space in the crypt.

The announcement of his withdrawal from his public role comes at a crucial time for the cathedral as it manages the massive crypt project Hidden Treasures: Fresh Expressions and prepares for a major exhibition involving the the ancient manuscript, Textus Roffensis, and the Magna Carta which is marking its 800th anniversary in 2015.

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