Westminster Abbey hires its first woman canon
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
WESTMINSTER Abbey is to have its first female Canon. Downing Street
announced on Monday the appointment of Canon Jane Hedges as Canon Steward, a
position that carries responsibility for hospitality at the Abbey.
Canon Hedges, who is Team Rector of the Honiton Team Ministry and Rural Dean
of Honiton, in the diocese of Exeter, is the first woman to be appointed to a
Royal Peculiar, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Queen. A graduate of
St John's College, Durham, and a former Canon Residentiary at Portsmouth
Cathedral, Canon Hedges became a deaconess in 1980, was made deacon in 1987,
and priested in 1994.
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd Dr Wesley Carr, who is retiring in
February, said: "It's only natural that, since the ordination of women, we
should now have women of such a high calibre and experience in the Church. We
are very pleased to have Jane joining our team."
Canon Hedges, who is 50, is married to a primary-school teacher and has two
sons, aged 12 and 14. She said this week: "I am both honoured and excited to be
the first woman Canon at the Abbey, and have had a very positive reception from
the Dean and Chapter.
"Many challenges lie ahead as I move from being a team rector in rural Devon
to a very different style of ministry at the heart of the nation. I look
forward to working with new colleagues at Westminster. I'm sure we will be able
to learn a lot from each other, and I hope I can quickly make a contribution to
the hard-working Abbey team."
Canon Hedges is scheduled to be Canon in Residence in February, when she
will lead her first service. One of her first tasks will be to oversee a review
of the visitor programme "Recovering the Calm". Other duties will include
welcoming pilgrims and tourists, and sharing responsibility for the fabric of
"I'm particularly looking forward to the opportunity to engage with the
enormous number of visitors to the Abbey, hopefully helping them to experience
the Abbey as a living Christian community as well as an inspiring building,"