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SODOR & MAN: Office separation

15 November 2011

by Margaret Duggan

FOR the first time for more than 100 years, the Cathedral of the diocese of Sodor & Man, St German’s, at Peel, on the Isle of Man, has its own Dean, the Very Revd Nigel Godfrey. Until last month, the Rt Revd Robert Paterson, like a number of his predecessors, had held the office of Dean along with that of Bishop of Sodor & Man.

It had not always been so; for it is a very ancient diocese that was founded long before Canterbury in 447, and there was a 12th-century cathedral on the Isle of St Patrick, as well as a St Peter’s, in Peel. But over the 18th and 19th centuries, the old cathedral gradually collapsed, and, in 1896, the chapel at Bishop’s Court, the home of the Bishop, was designated the Pro-Cathedral; so the Bishop, as occupant of the house, became the Dean, and remained so even when St German’s became the Cathedral.

But Bishop Paterson has become a reorganising if not a reforming Bishop, and has now reinstated the separate office of Dean, appointing the Sub-Dean, the Revd Nigel Godfrey, as the first one. Dean Godfrey has come a long way from being a town planner in Nottingham, via his first ministry in Brixton, south London, to being Dean in the slightly eccentric Crown Dependency of the Isle of Man, which is still not part of the UK.

Present at his installation were the Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man, the Officers and Chief Minister of Tynwald, the President of Tynwald, and the Speaker of the House of Keys, with other exotic-sounding officials.

At the same ceremony, a new Archdeacon of the Isle of Man, the Ven. Andrew Brown, was installed, as was a new Lay Canon, Colin Finney, who doubles up as operations manager for the harbours and coastguard, and Warden of Readers for the diocese.

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