Diocese of Carlisle

    New Dean for Carlisle Cathedral announced

    Latest News
    28 June 2023

    A South Lakeland vicar has today been announced as the 42nd Dean of Carlisle Cathedral.

    The Rev Canon Jonathan Brewster – currently Cartmel Peninsula Mission Community Leader and Interim Team Vicar in the parishes of Haverthwaite, Finsthwaite and Staveley in Cartmel, and Associate Priest in the parishes of St Paul Grange-over-Sands and Field Broughton with Lindale – will take up the post in September.

    The announcement was made this morning by Downing Street after His Majesty The King approved the appointment. It follows the retirement of the Very Rev Mark Boyling as Dean last September.

    Jonathan, aged 56, said: “I am thrilled to be announced as the new Dean and very much look forward to working alongside the Cathedral’s Chapter, staff and volunteers and colleagues in the wider Diocese as we seek to further God’s mission in the city and county.

    “Cumbria is a place that I know very well. Since being a child, I’ve holidayed here every year, and it’s been a particular privilege to work in the Diocese for the last 18 months, getting to know the villages and town that make up the Cartmel Peninsula. I’ve greatly valued the friendships made and seen at first-hand the importance of local identity in the working out of mission communities.

    “I’m very conscious that the Cathedral community has been through an extremely busy few years, with the Fratry project, the 900th anniversary celebrations and the impact of the Covid pandemic. I pay tribute to the former Dean for his great contribution in leading the Cathedral through this challenging time. The Cathedral will need time to give thanks and take stock before discerning where God may be leading next, whilst also connecting with the many exciting things happening in and around Carlisle.

    “The city is to have a redeveloped railway station, the University of Cumbria and Imperial College London are working together to launch a new graduate entry medical school in Carlisle and the University is also redeveloping the Citadel city centre site and land close to the Cathedral. All of these will offer up new opportunities by which we can connect further with new communities.”

    He comes to the post having served in the Cartmel Peninsula Team for nearly two years after moving to the Diocese of Carlisle in September 2021.

    Ordained Deacon in 1994 after studying for a BA in Theology at Trinity College Bristol, he was a curate in the Diocese of Bradford, and between 1998 and 2003 led an ecumenical chaplaincy team in the University of Westminster. He also served for three years as Assistant Director of Ordinands in the Diocese of London. In 2001 Jonathan completed an MA in Systematic Theology at Kings College London. He was the Vicar of Christ Church with St John and St Saviour in Highbury for 14 years, also serving as Area Dean of Islington from 2014 and Acting Archdeacon of Hackney from 2015 to 2016. In 2017 he moved to St Paul’s Cathedral as Residentiary Canon and Treasurer, an appointment involving oversight of the building and the commercial and financial aspects of its work, relating these to the Cathedral’s spiritual mission of worship, prayer and service.

    He added: “The cathedral exists as a place of prayer and welcome for the city, the county and the whole Diocese. The God for All vision, is precisely that, it’s an ecumenical vision for all people and I’m so looking forward to getting to know the cathedral community, building on all that’s been achieved in its 900th anniversary year, and supporting the wider mission and ministry of the Diocese as the new Dean.”

    Jonathan is married to Sarah and they have four children, an older son and daughter who have left home and two teenage daughters.

    The Rt Rev James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle, said: “I am delighted that Jonathan has been appointed Dean of Carlisle. He brings to the post proven mission-focussed skills and a huge experience of working within a Cathedral setting having been Canon Treasurer at St Paul’s Cathedral with oversight of a multi-million budget.

    “It has been a particularly exciting few years for the staff and worshipping community of Carlisle Cathedral with completion of the wonderful Fratry project and a series of wonderful events through which we could celebrate its 900th anniversary. I know Jonathan will look to build further on this in the coming years and that he will also be a very valued member of the Bishop’s Senior Leadership team. As he prepares to take on the role I will hold him, Sarah and all of their family in my prayers.”

    Prior to taking up the post, Jonathan will continue to liaise closely with the Interim Dean of the Cathedral, the Rev Canon Michael Manley who is also Canon Missioner.

    Michael said: “On behalf of the whole Cathedral chapter, staff, volunteers, and worshipping community, we are delighted to welcome Jonathan as our new Dean.

    “We all very much look forward to working together to continue to see God’s Kingdom grow here in the city of Carlisle and, indeed, across the whole of the Diocese through our numerous outreach projects. Our prayers will be with him, Sarah and their family ahead of the move to the Cathedral precinct.”

    Jonathan will be installed as the 42nd Dean of Carlisle at a special service at Carlisle Cathedral on Saturday 30 September at 3pm.

    He will be attending Evensong at the Cathedral today (Wednesday 28 June) at 5.45pm and all are very welcome to attend.

    Click here for more information about Jonathan.


    Notes to editors

    Role of the Dean of Carlisle

    The Dean of Carlisle is based in Carlisle, UK and is the head of the Chapter of Carlisle Cathedral. There have been 42 incumbents, including the current holder designate, with the first Dean having been appointed in 1542.

    Cathedral Chapter

    The Cathedral Chapter:

    • Maintains a pattern of daily worship and invites others to join them in these acts of prayer and praise
    • Gathers at least nine times a year ‘in Chapter’ as the governing body which shapes Cathedral policy and orders the Cathedral’s life
    • Serves, as opportunity allows, the community in which the Cathedral is set – both the secular community of the County of Cumbria and the City of Carlisle, and also the ecclesiastical community of the Diocese of Carlisle
    • Continues the tradition of welcome and hospitality to the common life of the Cathedral and its precinct

    For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Head of Communications, on 07469 153658 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk, or Cath Coates, Carlisle Cathedral Marketing and Communications Officer on 01228 479227 or marketing@carlislecathedral.org.uk.