Dean of Chichester set to leave and become new priest of rural parishes in West Dorset

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The Dean of Chichester, the Very Reverend Stephen Waine, is to be vicar of the benefice of Piddle Valley, Hilton and Anstey, Cheselbourne and Melcombe Horsey – in the Diocese of Salisbury.

Dean Waine, who was formerly Archdeacon of Dorset in the Diocese of Salisbury, is delighted to be ‘returning home’ after serving in Sussex for the past eight years. The news was announced today (Sunday, December 18) by The Diocese of Salisbury.

After overseeing the ministry of the cathedral and particularly steering the Cathedral community through the challenges of Covid-19, Dean Waine said he is very much looking forward to serving in a parish once again in a part of the country he knows so well.

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“It has been a privilege to serve as Dean of Chichester,” he said. “The cathedral is the praying heart of the diocese. In leading and developing the cathedral’s life and witness over the past eight years, I have been sustained by the daily offering of worship and music which is vital to the ministry of every cathedral.

Departing Dean of Chichester, Stephen Waine. Photo by Derek Martin Photography.Departing Dean of Chichester, Stephen Waine. Photo by Derek Martin Photography.
Departing Dean of Chichester, Stephen Waine. Photo by Derek Martin Photography.

"I have been fortunate to have the support of so many talented staff who have contributed their expertise and insight as we have invited people to ‘come and see’ the mystery at the heart of the gospel.”

The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said that, in his time as Dean, Stephen showed a ‘deep love and understanding’ of the English cathedral tradition which Chichester ‘exemplifies so outstandingly’.

He added: “He has seen the cathedral through challenging and turbulent times. Most recently he led the cathedral through the Covid pandemic, staying open for worship when others closed, and restoring other activities at a measured pace.

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"The major achievement of making the roof sound is shortly to be accomplished (and has been funded). Stephen has responded to a call to parochial ministry, the core of the Church of England’s mission, to which he now returns after almost 13 years as Archdeacon and then Dean.”

Chichester CathedralChichester Cathedral
Chichester Cathedral

Dr Warner said there will be an ‘opportunity in January’ to thank Stephen – and to ‘assure him and Lizzie, his wife, of good wishes for the future’.

“Meanwhile, we pray for them as they prepare to move and Stephen to begin a new ministry in the rural communities in which they will make their home,” he said.

The Dean will preside and preach at the Choral Eucharist, his final service in Chichester Cathedral, on Sunday, January 22. After a period of study leave, he will start his new role at the beginning of April.

Chichester Cathedral said provision has been made to support the canons, staff, and congregations and full details of these arrangements are on the website.