Bishop calls for change of culture at Exeter Cathedral

23 September 2016

Exeter Cathedral

On hold: a plan to re-excavate the remains of the Roman bath house under the Cathedral Green in Exeter, which failed to secure Heritage Lottery funding, is to be put on hold for at least five years

On hold: a plan to re-excavate the remains of the Roman bath house under the Cathedral Green in Exeter, which failed to secure Heritage Lottery fundin...

A CHANGE of culture is required at Exeter Cathedral, suggests a report commissioned by the Bishop, the Rt Revd Robert Atwell.

The report of a Visitation, ordered by the Bishop and completed in January, expresses concern that “poor communication and divisions among and between the Dean and Residentiary Canons is affecting the life of the Cathedral.”

The three independent Visitors said that it was “worrying” that the Dean, the Very Revd Dr Jonathan Draper, did not play a greater part in the pastoral care of the community. They noted that members of the congregation had observed the “personal tension between the clergy”, which was having an effect on worship. While an “excellent preacher” who presented a “dynamic image” of the Church, the Dean “appears to have little interest in the more mundane running of the Cathedral” and “does little to encourage staff”. Members of the congregation found him “remote and disinterested”, the Visitors reported.

Bishop Atwell has ordered that a facilitator be used to establish better working relationships, and that a pastoral-care team be set up. A management consultant is to be paid to advise on a change of culture, for which Dr Draper will have ultimate responsibility. Other orders made by Bishop Atwell include a review of staffing, in the light of financial constraints, and an acceleration in the safeguarding-training programme. A joint statement by the Bishop and the Dean said that they were “committed to continuing to work together to ensure the Cathedral remains at the heart of the spiritual and cultural life of the city and the wider county”.

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