Canon Precentor

This job has now expired
Southwell, Nottinghamshire
£25932 - £25932
2 Applications

Thank you for your interest in Southwell Cathedral’s key position of Canon Precentor

I was installed as Dean of Southwell in September 2016, having previously served as the Archdeacon of Wells and part-time residential Canon. It has been a joy to lead this Cathedral during the last two years, especially as the Chapter shapes and develops its strategic plan for mission to enable Southwell Minster to best serve our Bishop, the diocese, the county of Nottinghamshire and the city of Nottingham, and the local parish.

In consultation with the Chapter, the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, wishes to appoint a Canon Precentor who will lead the creative development of Southwell Cathedral’s musical and liturgical life. This is a critical appointment, full of exciting opportunity and we are praying for a clergy colleague who understands the joy of daily worship and yet is also outward-focused to engage with God’s world, and who has a profound love of people and ministry. The Minster is above all a place of prayer and pilgrimage, often remarked on as being peaceful and warm in welcome. At the heart of this beautiful and iconic building is a living Christian community longing to grow in love, faith and action.

We hope that the enclosed information encourages you to consider whether God is calling you to apply to be this key member of the team and Chapter. While you will need to demonstrate that you have relevant experience combined with liturgical and musical competence, we are also looking for a priest who is willing to learn, grow and be instrumental in shaping our future under God, with a heart for mission.

If you are familiar with the Cathedrals Working Group report (General Synod, July 2018) you will understand the immense privilege of Cathedral Ministry at this particular time in the Church of England’s vital mission to our nation. We believe that Southwell Cathedral is uniquely placed to be part of the re-energising of Christian faith and practice in this fast changing area of England. The years ahead will be demanding, busy, challenging and deeply fulfilling.

We will be praying for you during this time of discernment. If you would like a confidential conversation by telephone with me, or would like to arrange an informal visit please contact my PA Mrs Rachel Doe, whose details are below.

Yours in Christ

The Very Revd Nicola Sullivan

Dean of Southwell

Southwell Minster, the Cathedral and Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Southwell

Brief History

The Cathedral and Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary has stood in the centre of Southwell for centuries. The present Romanesque building replaced an Anglo Saxon Minster church which in turn had been built on the site of an abandoned but significant Roman Villa. St. Paulinus baptised nearby in the River Trent evangelising this part of England in the early seventh century. Later, successive Archbishops of York developed the Palace near to the Minster, strategically positioned as the last stopping off place in the York Province on the Great North Road (now the A1). Southwell became an important seat of ecclesiastical power and influence as a Collegiate Church. Since 1884 it is the Cathedral church for Nottinghamshire, despite being some 12 miles from the city of Nottingham, and is arguably the most beautiful twelfth century building in England and perfect in its setting. The Minster is a beacon of living faith for the people of Nottinghamshire, witnessing through the centuries to God’s love for his people, and today inspiring all who come as pilgrims or tourists.

The primary work of the Minster in 2018 is the same as it has been through the ages, the worship of God, the mission of the gospel and the ministry of hospitality and welcome. It is a prayerful place and a spiritual resource to the 307 parishes of the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. Daily worship is at the centre of our life. Southwell Minster as Cathedral and parish church offers all who come here an opportunity for celebration, learning and discovery.

The Locality and the Market Town of Southwell

The Minster (as it is referred to locally) is located eight miles from Newark-on-Trent and thirteen miles from Mansfield, and is the seat of the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, who resides next door in Bishop’s Manor. Within the town centre there are a good selection of independent shops, friendly pubs selling traditional ales, cosy cafés and restaurants. On Saturdays the Market Square hosts a lively market. Southwell has celebrated connections with Cardinal Wolsey, the Bramley apple, Lord Byron and King Charles I! There are guided Heritage walks through the town, and the first ever Union Workhouse, now owned by the National Trust. There is a wide range of local events including concerts, and theatre performances. Southwell is proud of its many festivals including The Gate to Southwell Folk Festival, The Bramley Festival, The Southwell Music Festival (which centres on the Minster) and The Southwell Library Poetry Festival. Schools and pre-school care in Southwell is excellent with many of the school’s having a Good or Outstanding Ofstead rating.

Cathedral and Parish Church

The Cathedral is also the parish church for 5,500 souls in the town, which has a total population of around 7,500 but is growing with new housing developments. It has diverse congregations most of whom live locally but many more travel from across the county to worship, attracted by the choral tradition. The electoral roll stands at 366 and has a large representation in the 60+ age range. Attendance at the four Sunday services stands at an average of 230 with nearly 110 communicants attending the 9.30 am Eucharist and 50 the 11.15am Sung Eucharist (BCP). There has been discussion over many years as to whether there should be one main Cathedral Eucharist. Any decision was stalled until the arrival of a new Dean (September 2016) and new Rector Chori (Director of Music, in post since April 2017) but there is momentum now to review and bring experimental change in early 2019 and this will need to be embraced by the new Precentor. As the parish church the Minster offers pastoral offices and engagement in the life of the town but much more could be done here, including the potential development of a Fresh Expression of Church that could run alongside the more traditional Cathedral services.

Purpose of the role:

1. To lead and develop the Liturgy and Music department during a time of exciting strategic change, ensuring the highest quality in music and worship in the Cathedral.

2. To oversee congregational development and spiritual formation so that the Cathedral is a vibrant and relevant resource to other churches in the diocese and the Bishop in the vision of ‘Growing disciples: wider, younger, deeper’.

3. To provide motivational and inspirational leadership whilst also being a strong team player within Chapter and among colleagues to support the flourishing of the Cathedral in its connections to all its stakeholders, especially those who are not presently engaged with the Church.

Common Practice

It is understood that all Residentiary Canons and clergy undertake:

• To attend the daily offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, unless taking a rest day, holiday or away on other duties;

• To lead and preach regularly in the Cathedral’s services

• To attend and contribute to diary and staff meetings;

• To attend the Cathedral Chapter and, if so elected, the Cathedral Council, and such committees as required;

• To take their share of being in residence (see below) which is currently 17 weeks per year


The person appointed will be able to demonstrate the following skills and experience:

  1. Excellent organisational, communication and interpersonal skills
  2. A lively, disciplined and rich life of prayer and worship which values the Daily Office but is open to the breadth of the contemporary Church of England
  3. Has experience in empowering all God’s people to develop their gifts in ministry
  4. A priest with both a head and a heart for liturgy, musically capable but not necessarily an ‘expert’.
  5. Has an instinctive heart for mission and is excited about the opportunities Cathedrals have today to connect to a wide range of people
  6. Familiarity with a wide range of contemporary liturgical and musical styles and willing to work ecumenically
  7. Ability to work flexibly and as part of a team. A genuine team player who can receive constructive contributions and help all to realise their full potential and who can instil confidence in others when leading rehearsals, for example.
  8. Work calmly and effectively under pressure and to tight deadlines when required.
  9. An able and engaging preacher able to adapt to different occasions and contexts and who values the priority of preaching and study of scripture and theology.
  10. Clear thinking, with IT and administrative ability and experience in managing a budget.
  11. Willing to learn, grow and change under God in the joys and challenges of Cathedral ministry.

    For more information about this application process, please use this link

The Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham and its vision

Led by Bishop Paul Williams, installed in 2015, the diocese has a compelling vision for its mission in ‘Growing Disciples: wider, younger, deeper’ across the diocese and in the wider world. “Compelled by the love of Christ, by 2023 we will prayerfully seek to welcome 7000 new disciples into the fellowship of Christ and his church; commission 1000 younger leaders (15 - 30) equipped to serve God in the Church and society: plant or graft 75 new worshipping communities and grow 25 larger Resource Churches inspired and equipped to ‘give themselves away’. “

In the diversity of city and county, wealth and deprivation, multi culture and multi faith, young and ageing, hopeful and fearful for the future, the story of the people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and south Yorkshire is embraced and celebrated by the 307 parishes and numerous chaplaincies in schools, hospitals, prisons and workplaces who reach out with the light and love of Christ every day.

‘The Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham incorporates the City of Nottingham, the whole County of Nottinghamshire and five parishes in South Yorkshire. The population is 1.15 million – 51% live in the greater Nottingham conurbation, 31% in ex-mining areas and 18% in rural. The diocese consists of an urban center, outer estates, market towns and smaller rural communities. The city of Nottingham in the south of the diocese is the largest urban area, followed by the towns of Mansfield, Worksop, Newark and Retford towards the north of the diocese. There are significant numbers of rural multi-parish benefices in the deaneries of Newark and Southwell, Bassetlaw and Bawtry and East Bingham. ‘

The diocese has been encouraged by recent support from the Church of England’s Strategic Development Fund. The Minster as Cathedral is fully engaged as a resource for the Bishops and diocese as a focus for gathering, worship, mission, teaching and outreach. We too recognise our vocation to draw from the deep and refreshing wells of prayer and worship to share with all. A new church in Nottingham has been planted in a former auction house, and The Potting Shed Church is meeting nearby in a farm barn – we rejoice that both are gathering new disciples as are many other new ventures. The Potting Shed

We have plans for greater engagement and partnership with the parishes of the diocese. For many years the Minster has been pleased to host parish pilgrimages, quiet days and visits and we want to build on these. We are rigorous in including prayer for the diocese every day, inviting clergy, lay ministers and congregations to join us for Evensong whenever they are to be prayed for on the diocesan calendar of prayer, and to read a lesson. The diocese, Bishops and Cathedral have a happy and positive history and relationship which is mutually supportive and integrated in our common vision to serve Christ and further the Kingdom of God.