The Reverend Canon Toby Wright has been appointed as the new Dean of Wells Cathedral by the King, as announced by Downing Street on January 15th.
Toby's installation as Dean will be on Sunday June 16 at 1500, and he and Sally will bid farewell to the Benefice of Witney on April 28th, at a final Sunday service in St Mary’s at 10:45.
We greet this announcement with mixed emotions. We are delighted that Toby’s many gifts and talents have been recognised, and that both he and Sally will be able to develop their respective ministries because of this important appointment within the Church.
However, we are extremely sad that the Benefice will be losing both Toby and Sally, and Caspar and Felicity, not least because of the immensely positive impact that they have all had on so many of us across the Benefice and within the town and villages.
There will be many opportunities to say thank you to Toby and Sally and their family over the coming weeks, but in the meantime, please hold them in your prayers as they prepare for this move and as Toby takes up his new responsibilities.
Please also pray for the Ministry team, as we work through the detailed implications of this announcement, and as we begin the process to appoint Toby’s replacement as Team Rector.
The Parish Wardens
Toby writes: There is never a right time to move on in ministry, as it is always a heartfelt wrench. However, we do feel that now is a good time to make a leap into the unknown of new ministries and God’s call feels strong. Sally and I - and Caspar and Felicity -will always be grateful beyond words for the amazing times we have shared with you here and all you have taught us.
I was asked by the Archbishops’ Appointments team to consider becoming the Dean of Wells, and it has felt so right during the long and challenging process of exploration. I am very clear that I have only got this new job because of the ways I have been shaped and formed by living alongside you in this community of mercy and kindness, and through other wisdom I have gained within and beyond the diocese. My role is to lead the Chapter at the Cathedral to serve the diocese and County through the ministry of the ancient Cathedral church in Wells.
Please know you will remain on our hearts and in our prayers, and I hope you will pray for us too in this time of flux and transition, and beyond. As one of my heroes, the monk Thomas Merton said of change: ‘You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.’
In the Church of England and elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, the dean is the chief resident cleric of a cathedral and the head of the chapter of canons. The Revd Canon Toby Wright’s official appointment will be to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of St Andrew in Wells.
Wells Cathedral, dedicated to St Andrew the Apostle, is the seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells and the mother church of the Diocese of Bath and Wells. Wells Cathedral’s history goes back over 1000 years and the present buildings are the result of abuilding period from the 12th to the 15th centuries. This includes the completion of associated buildings – namely Vicars’ Close and Hall - provided for the Vicars Choral who continue to occupy the medieval houses.
This proud, centuries old tradition is unique and a much-valued part of life at Wells Cathedral today. However, despite its traditional heart, the Cathedral is very much alive and prepared to innovate in the face of the modern challenges that face it, welcoming thousands of visitors each year who join in with regular daily services and events, or who come to simply spend time in this special building.