Dean of St Albans to move to Anglican Chaplaincy in Paris
13th December 2020
The Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John, has accepted a post as Associate Chaplain at St George’s Anglican Church in Paris, after seventeen years at St Albans Cathedral.
Dean Jeffrey’s ministry has seen a period of growth and development in all areas of the life of St Albans Cathedral – worship, prayer, music and learning, as well as tourism and the use of the building as a cultural venue. It is a place where all are welcome and included. Most recently, the Cathedral has gained a stunning new welcome centre and exhibition space in which the story of Alban, Britain’s first Christian saint and martyr is told.
It is perhaps his preaching that many people, not just at the Cathedral but across the Diocese of St Albans and beyond, will miss most. Learned but accessible, and uncompromisingly centred on Christian teaching, he has captivated people with his warmth, wit and honesty about faith and life. He is also an enthusiastic linguist.
Dean Jeffrey said: “Seventeen years is a long time for a priest to be in one place, but the years in St Albans have been good and fruitful. Grant and I will always be profoundly thankful for the welcome we have received here, and we shall miss the place and the people enormously. The prospect of life in Paris and a new ministry in two languages is exciting, and we think a change is important before I retire – but then we intend to come back to St Albans. So this is Au Revoir, not Adieu.
The Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, said: “I have been fortunate to have Jeffrey as my Dean. He has been outstanding in his leadership of the Cathedral community. The role has been both demanding and personally costly for him. Cathedrals are complex organizations and their leadership demands multiple skills and gifts of their Deans. Jeffrey has been much more than a skilled and gifted priest and preacher. He has been a diplomat, fund-raiser, enabler and visionary. I will be sad to see him and Grant go as they embrace a new challenge. I wish them well and pray for them in their next phase of life and ministry.”
The Bishop of Bedford, Richard Atkinson, OBE, said: “I have always treasured visits St Albans Cathedral. The cathedral sometimes feels like it’s a long way from Bedfordshire, but Jeffrey has encouraged the widest links with churches across St Albans Diocese and made it feel closer, not least through the teaching he has given in Bedfordshire which has been highly valued.”
The Bishop of Hertford, Dr Michael Beasley, said: ” I have developed a deep appreciation for Jeffrey’s dedication, his deeply caring heart and his brightly burning faith which help to sustain the Cathedral as a vibrant place where people from all walks of life are welcome whether for music, a tour or school trip or an encounter with God.”
Read the Dean’s message to St Albans Cathedral here