Dean’s plan for cathedral future

The new Dean of Peterborough Cathedral Revd Canon Tim Sledge EMN-170718-115226009
The new Dean of Peterborough Cathedral Revd Canon Tim Sledge EMN-170718-115226009
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The new Dean of Peterborough has said his job is more than getting the cathedral ‘out of the red and into the black.’

Rev Canon Tim Sledge will take up the role following an installation service in October, after the Queen approved his appointment this week.

Canon Sledge - the current Vicar of Romsey in Winchester - takes over from the Very Rev Charles Taylor, who retired last year.

The new Dean joins the cathedral staff a year before the celebration of the building’s 900th anniversary - but also at a difficult time in its history, as it faces major cash flow problems,

Canon Sledge, who is married with two stepchildren, said: “I’m a priest and not a business manager, but I need to bring in business knowledge.

“It will be about evolution not revolution. There may well be changes over the next five to 10 years. But my role is more than just getting the cathedral out of the red and into the black.

“The cathedral is already starting to pay off its debts and has a good plan ahead.”

In February the cathedral hosted a marketing event for Mini and BMW, with new models unveiled in the nave.

The event received a mixed reaction from residents, with some saying the cathedral should not use the space for commercial activities.

However, Canon Sledge - who reversed a substantial annual deficit in his previous role - said other similar events were likely to happen in the future. He said: “The cathedral is an amazing venue, and it can be used for revenue growth. I would like to see it used for a variety of community events, but the main purpose of the building is to worship God.”

It is not Canon Sledge’s first time in Peterborough, having worked as Mission Enabler in the city for five years before leaving in 2008.

Canon Sledge, who was born in Dronfield near Sheffield said he is hoping to see congregation sizes increase in the city, having seen church attendances at Romsey Abbey increase by 20 per cent in the past six years..

He said: “I did not think I would be back so soon, but we are all looking forward to the 900 celebrations next year - its such a big thing for us all here.

“I think Christian faith - and faith in general - still has a part to play.

“Part of my last role was to increase the congregation size, and it would be good to do that here.”

The Rt Rev Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough, welcomed the new Dean and said: “I am delighted at Tim Sledge’s appointment as Dean of Peterborough. He holds the values and traditions of cathedral life and worship, while at the same time having a passion for mission and for leading people to faith in Jesus Christ.”

It is expected an installation service will be held at 3.30pm on Sunday, October 15.