The Chapter are responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day management of the Cathedral. Chapter comprises the Dean, the Residentiary Canons, the Receiver General and four additional persons appointed by the Archbishop.
Robert Willis is the 39th Dean of Canterbury, having moved to Canterbury from Hereford Cathedral in the Summer of 2001. He is the Chairman of the Deans’ and Provosts’ Conference of the Church of England and has been a member of the General Synod for 14 years.
He is an accomplished pianist and lover of opera as well as a keen tennis player and traveller; he has also written some hymns.
What is important for all who work in the Cathedral is to find ways of showing every aspect of this holy place to the millions of visitors who come here each year, although how we do that may change over time.
In particular, the International Study Centre is a great resource for hospitality and for our communicating the welcome of Jesus Christ to all, both young and old, local residents and people from all over the globe.
Clare Edwards is the Canon Pastor. She moved to Canterbury in 2004 after 18 years of parish ministry in the Diocese of Southwark, where she was also rural dean of Godstone and diocesan dean of women’s ministry. She has responsibility for the pastoral care of those who work and worship at the cathedral and of the many who visit here each day as pilgrims and tourists. She walked the final 500 miles along the French route to Santiago de Compostela in 2008 and has led various other pilgrimages for members of the cathedral community.
Coming from a background in General and Paediatric nursing Clare maintains an interest in medical and nursing matters alongside the churches ministry of healing and wholeness and is honorary chaplain to the Becket medical society. Clare has particular interests in liturgy, spiritual accompaniment and retreat work. She is a member of General Synod. She enjoys swimming, windsurfing and walking when the sun shines!
Christopher Irvine is the Canon Librarian and the Director of Education. He came to the Cathedral from being Principal of the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield. As Director of Education Canon Irvine has responsibility for the Anglican Conferences for Seminarians and for newly ordained bishops from around the worldwide Anglican Communion, held in the Cathedral’s International Study Centre.
Canon Irvine is a member of the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England, and the Cathedrals’ Fabric Commission for England. He has a particular interest in the relation between the visual arts and theology, and is a trustee of Art and Christian Enquiry (ACE). His recent books include The Art of God (SPCK, 2005), and The Use of Symbols in Worship (SPCK 2007). His forthcoming book The Cross and Creation is to be published in June 2013. Canon Irvine and Rosie have two grown-up daughters, and they both enjoy travel, and visiting galleries and art exhibitions.
He has a particular interest in spirituality, and is the editor of God’s Transforming Work (SPCK 2011). He is married to Heather, and they have two children. He enjoys music, cooking, walking, reading widely, and – whenever he remembers – going to the gym.
The Ven Sheila Watson is Archdeacon of Canterbury and a Residentiary Canon of Canterbury, combining responsibilties in the Cathedral and the diocese. On behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, she enthrones all new diocesan bishops in the Province of Canterbury. She is the first woman to fulfil this role. The Archdeacon’s office is an historic one dating back to 798. Past Archdeacons include Thomas Becket in 1154. In the church today, Archdeacon Sheila works closely with the bishops to support the ministry of clergy and parishes.
Before coming to Canterbury in the spring of 2007, Sheila was Archdeacon of Buckingham. Born in 1953, Sheila graduated in Classics at St Andrew’s University, where she went on to take a research degree after a preparatory year of theology at Oxford. After 27 years of ministry, she came to Canterbury via the North East, London and Salisbury, as well as Buckinghamshire. She has worked in three parishes and was also closely involved in the selection and training of clergy and laity in the Kensington Episcopal Area of the Diocese of London, at the Advisory Board of Ministry in Westminster, and later as Director of Ministry in the Salisbury diocese. Sheila is married to Derek, who was Dean of Salisbury until his retirement in 2002, and is now Preacher of Lincoln’s Inn, one of the Inns of Court in London.
I feel enormously privileged to be invited to join the team at Canterbury in both diocese and Cathedral. I have always loved the Cathedral with all its historic associations and I am greatly looking forward to getting to know the people and churches of Kent.
Being a priest is one of the most fascinating but sometimes one of the most demanding jobs in today’s society – being a Christian can be pretty tough too but it is really exciting. I have been very lucky to see so many different contexts in ministry.
Philip was born in Australia and came to the UK in 1986. He is a qualified Medical Scientist and subsequently was educated both in Australia and England in Theology and Philosophy. Originally from the Uniting Church in Australia Philip was ordained Deacon and Priest in Lincoln Cathedral in 1989. In addition to ecumenical parish posts in Australia and in Lincolnshire he served as Team Vicar of Grimsby Parish Church 1989-1995 and ‘Rector of St Stephen’s Canterbury 1995 – 2002′ and as Area Dean of Canterbury.
Philip was originally appointed as Archdeacon of Maidstone in 2002 and after diocesan reorganisation became the first Archdeacon of Ashford in 2011 with particular responsibility for ‘local church development’ in the Diocese. Philip is a member of the General Synod.
Among his church interests Philip includes:
- Canterbury Diocese and Canterbury Cathedral
- Ecumenical Theology
- Social and Medical Ethics.
- Faith & Science Issues.
- Parish Management and Contemporary Mission
Philip is married to Christine and they have a family of four adult children and six grandchildren. The family keep a wonderful dog – a ‘puddin’ Jack Russell terrier called Jessie. Philip greatly enjoys conversation and the company of others, opera, ballet, theatre and cinema, poetry, art and travel, fine wine, cooking and eating but, with apologies to all Australians, not sport.
Professor Michael Wright retired as Vice Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University in the summer of 2010. From 1997, he was the Principal in its earlier position as a College and University College.
His academic discipline is law. Before Canterbury Christ Church, he taught law and was an academic manager at universities in Bristol, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Besides participation in many education, church and community organisations, Professor Wright is a Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, Chairman of the Governing Body of East Kent College, Chairman of the Governing Body of Northbourne Park School, Chairman of the Lambeth Conference Company and Chairman of the Canterbury Festival Board.
Outside education, he lists golf and singing in the local choir amongst his interests. Michael Wright is married with three grown up children.
He was awarded a CBE in December 2009.
Caroline has been active in church life and governance for many years. She is a member of the General Synod, Chair of the Canterbury Diocesan Licensed Ministries Framework, and a member of the Canterbury Archbishop’s Council. She is an Honorary Fellow of Canterbury Christ Church University.
Caroline worships at Wye Parish Church where she is involved in the ministry of welcome and makes the coffee.
She lives in Godmersham with her husband Jonathan. Their three children are now grown and flown. She enjoys cooking for friends, walking (especially in mountains) and the visual and performing arts (just as well since two of her children are musicians and the third is a dancer and choreographer).
Appointed to Chapter in January 2007, William was the Civic and International Manager at Canterbury City Council. William has assisted at Services in the Cathedral for many years and represents the Cathedral on the Deanery Synod.
After more than 25 years as a member of the Cathedral’s congregation, I am honoured and delighted to have been given this new way of serving the Cathedral community.