New Dean coming to St Albans from Canterbury
6th September 2021
Watch a video of the announcement from the Cathedral
See images from the announcement below:
HM The Queen has named The Venerable Jo Kelly-Moore, Archdeacon of Canterbury as the next Dean of St Albans. The Dean leads the ministry of the Cathedral, the mother church of the Diocese of St Albans and one of the Church of England’s 42 cathedrals.
Cathedrals have seen sustained growth in visitor numbers and worshippers over nearly two decades and St Albans cathedral has had the largest worshipping congregation of any.
Dean-Elect Jo’s appointment follows the departure of the Very Revd Jeffrey John who was Dean from 2003 to 2020 and who is now an Anglican Chaplain in Paris. The appointment of the Dean is made by the Crown on the advice of the Bishop and other leading figures in the diocese following a rigorous selection process involving a church and civic panel. The panel was chaired by the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, emphasising the reach of the Cathedral across all the communities of the Diocese of St Albans.
Speaking about the appointment, the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, said:
“This is a timely moment to welcome a new Dean to the Cathedral and the Diocese after eighteen months of lockdown. Jo brings outstanding experience to our Cathedral from Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand and from a leading post in the Church of England as Archdeacon of Canterbury – a post also playing a key part in the ministry of Canterbury Cathedral with its international dimension.
“That makes Dean Jo well placed to build on the legacy of Dean Jeffrey in establishing public understanding of St Albans Cathedral as the home of Britain’s First Saint, St Alban.
“She will commend herself to the community in St Albans and more widely in the diocese and beyond through her warmth and the sense of quiet command that she conveys.
“I warmly welcome her.”
Following the worst days of lockdown, St Albans Cathedral has discovered new friends online as services and visitor experiences have been shared with participants across the continents and has welcomed back visitors and worshippers in person.
Dean-Elect Jo has had a long-standing awareness of St Albans Cathedral: many years ago when she was a parish priest in New Zealand a parishioner brought her back a small wooden mouse as a memento from a pilgrimage all the way to St Albans Cathedral, which she still has.
Speaking about Dean Jo on learning of her impending departure from Canterbury Diocese, the Most Hon & Rt Revd Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who is also Bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury, said:
“This is a fantastic appointment. Jo has been a real gift to Canterbury Diocese and she will be sorely missed. She navigates the complexities of the Church of England with humour, grace and skill and her commitment to the gospel of Christ is evident in her life.”
Speaking just before the announcement, Dean-Elect Jo said:
“Cathedrals have so many roles: and, just like the cities they serve, on any given day within them, many different things happen.
“Above all, St Albans Cathedral is a place of welcome and engagement for all people whether they come to visit, learn, worship, volunteer, enjoy the magnificent historic building, pray, listen to a concert, see an exhibition, enjoy our grounds, or eat and drink in ‘the Abbot’s Kitchen’. I want to see all those roles continue to grow, develop and adapt to the world into which we are emerging as we get to grips with what we all hope will be a post-Covid world.
“The contribution that cathedrals make to their communities is not just spiritual but social and economic too, affirmed by the recent report from ECORYS to the Association of English Cathedrals. What underlies the whole of that contribution is the invitation to visit a place steeped in centuries of prayer, history and community the store of which is increased daily and through our active engagement in the life of our city and counties.”
The Revd Dr Kevin Walton, Acting Dean said:
“It is a very great delight to welcome Jo to the community of St Albans Cathedral as our new Dean, and we very much look forward to her contributing to the life, worship, and mission of this special place. Our prayers are very much with Jo and her husband Paul as she prepares to join us.”
Prior to her ordination, she practiced as a solicitor in both New Zealand and London. She is married to Paul and they have two adult sons. She is an avid participant in Parkrun and hopes to participate in St Albans’ Parkrun once she has settled in to St Albans.
The Dean-Elect is expected to be installed in the Cathedral to begin her ministry towards the end of the year.
About Jo Kelly Moore
Jo Kelly-Moore has been the Archdeacon of Canterbury and a Residentiary Canon of Canterbury Cathedral since 2017.During her time in Canterbury Diocese she served on the Church of England’s General Synod, contributing as a member of the steering committee for the 2021 Cathedrals Measure. She also championed the discipleship and empowerment of young Christians as Co-Chair of the Diocese’s Children and Young People’s Framework. Through Changing Lives Conversations, Jo highlighted the power of conversations about faith in everyday life. She has also played a key role in the development of the diocesan environmental strategy and has served on a number of diocesan and Cathedral committees.
From 2010 to 2017, she was the Dean of Auckland in the Anglican Church of New Zealand from 2010 to 2017. During her time there, she oversaw the completion of the cathedral church building and was also deputy vicar-general of the diocese. She served on the general synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia and on that synod’s standing committee.
About St Albans Cathedral
- St Alban is Britain’s first Christian saint, martyred about 300 AD. St Albans Cathedral is built on the shrine of St Alban, and is the longest continuous place of Christian worship and pilgrimage in Britain. It has a regular congregation of about 1000, and a community of over 600 volunteers.
- The present building is Norman, built in part with Roman bricks from the town of Verulamium and was the premier Benedictine monastery in England in the middle ages until St Albans Abbey was largely demolished in 1539 with the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII.
- It was saved by the townspeople of St Albans in the 18th century, restored and improved by Lord Grimthorpe in the 19th Century, becoming the cathedral church of the newly formed Diocese of St Albans in 1877. The 20th and 21st centuries have seen notable additions to the building in the form of Sir Basil Spence’s Chapter House in the 1960s and the 2017 addition of the new visitor centre and exhibition space about Britain’s First Saint.
- The Cathedral attracted 400,000 visitors in 2019 from the United Kingdom and abroad, and hosts visits from over 14,000 school children each year. It also has a full programme of adult learning events and courses.
- It has two of the finest cathedral choirs in the country (with both girl and boy choristers), a magnificent organ, a busy programme of innovative musical events and concerts, and various voluntary choirs and music groups. It hosts the biennial International Organ Festival, the most prestigious organ competition in Europe.
- It is the mother church of the Diocese of St Albans which serves the people of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, the Borough of Luton and parts of the London borough of Barnet.
- A recently published report by ECORYS on the Economic and Social Impact of Cathedrals shows how much cathedrals are resources for our local communities and the nation. England’s 42 cathedrals contribute a combined £235 million to their local economies and welcome more than 14.6 million visits each year, over 300,000 by schoolchildren for educational events, and 9.5 million from tourists and visitors. Cathedrals are known for their ability to host rich programmes of arts, music, heritage and culture, and these amount to almost 10,000 events each year, equivalent to two every three days, as well as providing venues for film shoots. Together with their economic impact, they play a huge role socially, responding to local need by supporting foodbanks, hosting support groups for the vulnerable, providing outreach activities in schools, and holding lunch clubs, parent and toddler groups, and community cafes. The research also found that COVID-19 has given rise to many new pastoral and creative opportunities, both in access to worship and also wider engagement with the public and new audiences. The report can be downloaded from https://www.englishcathedrals.co.uk/latest-news/new-research-says-cathedrals-matter/