Bishop Richard is delighted that Her Majesty The Queen has confirmed the appointment of The Revd Canon Sarah Brown as the next Dean of Hereford. Her nomination was announced by Downing Street this morning, and she will take up her role in the autumn of this year.
This is a significant appointment for the Church of England in Herefordshire and South Shropshire. It is also the first time in the 1,300 year history of the diocese that a woman has been appointed to the role of Dean.
“It is a cliché to say that ‘I am humbled by this appointment’ but it is true. This is not modesty on my part but when I remember who I was when I first started on the Christian path I can only reflect with awe upon what God is capable of. To find myself following in the footsteps of Michael Tavinor as Dean of Hereford is both a privilege and a slow-growing miracle!”
Sarah came to faith in her late twenties and describes how she first encountered God in her village church where she joined the choir.
She explains: “It was here that I discovered the power of church music, the care of a Christian community, the teaching of a wonderful rural vicar and finally, in utter astonishment which persists to this day, the disarming love and forgiveness of God. “
She describes how that forgiveness finally “freed” her to set out on a new path of adventure in Christ’s service. “If the God of Creation has led me to this point, then I know that he can transform literally any person and any set of circumstances, to bring new life – and I find that amazing.”
Sarah is currently Canon Missioner at Peterborough Cathedral in the diocese of Peterborough where she has spent most of her adult life.
“I will miss everyone at Peterborough but I am excited by the beauty and missional prospects of this good and holy place land. I look forward to getting to know the people and places of Herefordshire and South Shropshire and of course joining in with what God is already doing in this part of the world.”
Sarah was ordained in the diocese of Peterborough in 2008 following a career in business. After reading German at Nottingham University she worked in corporate sales and marketing before responding to an unexpected call to lead FCN, a national farming charity, which she did in tandem with studying theology and serving her curacy.
Her Church career has at different times engaged with the agricultural community, rural churches, a market town and a cathedral city, all of which now come excitingly together in the role of Dean of Hereford.
Sarah is married to Richard and they have two children; Alice, who is a musician and Edward, who is training to be a vet. Her parents are also moving to Hereford and Richard’s family live just over the border in Monmouth and are regular visitors.
The Rt Revd Richard Jackson, Bishop of Hereford said: “I am delighted to welcome Sarah as the next Dean of Hereford. This is the second senior appointment in our Diocese since I became Bishop in 2020 and I am delighted to welcome her to the diocese.
“As we plan for the future of the Church of England in Herefordshire and South Shropshire, my hope and prayer is for a healthy, growing and vibrant community of Christians of all ages who can confidently share their love of Christ with others. Sarah is a key part of helping bring that vision to life. She has a heart for pastoral ministry with a vision for mission, a rare combination of gifts and I am excited to see how God uses her in her role as Dean.”
The Revd Canon Andrew Piper, on behalf of the Chapter of Hereford Cathedral said:
“The Chapter is delighted by the appointment of The Reverend Canon Sarah Brown to the deanery of Hereford, and warmly congratulates her on her preferment. We assure her of our support as she prepares for her installation in early October, and we look forward to welcoming her family to our cathedral community when they move into College Cloisters in the autumn.”
Sarah will be installed a Dean of Hereford at a special service which will take place in Hereford Cathedral later this year. Details will be announced nearer the time.
The Dean is the senior priest in the Cathedral and the chair of the Chapter, which is the governing body of the Cathedral. She has overall responsibility for the Cathedral’s life, mission and ministry, and represents the Cathedral in the city and county, holding responsibilities in the wider Diocese. At Hereford, she also has overall responsibilities for administration, finance and fabric matters.