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Simon Jones to return to Lincoln as Dean

23 April 2024

John Cairns/Diocese of Lincoln

Canon Simon Jones

Canon Simon Jones

THE next Dean of Lincoln is to be Canon Simon Jones, Chaplain and Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, Downing Street announced on Tuesday.

Canon Jones served as Interim Dean of the diocese for nine months from March 2023 (News, 20 January 2023), before Canon Nick Brown took over as Interim Dean and Precentor.

Canon Jones succeeds the Very Revd Christine Wilson, who announced her retirement at the end of 2022 (News, 2 December 2022). Dean Wilson took a voluntary leave of absence in 2019 (News, 26 April 2019) for the duration of a long safeguarding investigation. She returned to work almost a year later (News, 20 March 2020), having been given a “conditional deferment”. A Bishop’s Visitation to examine the governance of the cathedral was announced alongside the news of her return.

Canon Jones trained for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge, and has a doctorate from Cambridge. He was ordained priest in 2000.

His post at Merton — which he has held for more than 20 years — entails responsibility for welfare provision and student financial support, as well as for the chapel and choral foundation. He teaches liturgy, and is a member of the university’s faculty of theology and religion.

The Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, recognised his “outstanding contribution” to Merton College, the University, and the diocese. “His ministry is deeply appreciated across the University and the City of Oxford, as is that of Darren his partner. We will miss them both but recognise that Simon will have so much to give to the life of Lincoln Cathedral and his new diocese and region.”

Canon Jones also chairs the steering committee of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation, and has just stepped down from chairing the board of the Church Times’s parent charity, Hymns Ancient & Modern. He has been involved in the work of the Liturgical Commission for more than 20 years. He is an honorary canon of Christ Church, Oxford, and honorary canon theologian of Chichester Cathedral.

Speaking on Tuesday, Canon Jones said that his experience of serving as Interim Dean for nine months was “enormously positive. When I arrived last March, it was not my intention to apply for the substantive role. A sense of calling to serve this wonderful cathedral, city, county, and diocese grew as the months went by, underpinned by the support and encouragement of many people.”

He continued: “Leading the chapel community and welfare team at Merton has been a huge privilege, and it’s going to be hard to leave after more than 20 happy years. I will do so with the hope that all that I have learned from sharing in the leadership of this inspiring place has equipped me to begin this new ministry, and to pursue the many exciting opportunities it offers.”

The Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, said: “We are looking forward to having him back after having benefited so much from his ministry as Interim Dean last year.”

Canon Jones will be installed at Lincoln Cathedral on Saturday 14 September.

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