The Dean of Peterborough will say a fond farewell to the city this weekend, as he takes his final service at the cathedral.
The Very Rev Charles Taylor has been the Dean since March 2007, but will step down following a service on Saturday.
He said: “At one level I am going to be very sad to be leaving. I shall really miss the wonderful people and community in which I live, not only in the cathedral but in the city, the diocese and the region. That I shall greatly miss.
“The vision I had for the cathedral as a place of openness and inclusivity is becoming a reality, for example the new Visitor and Learning Centre is open and the new level access at the West Front is in place. Other key parts of the capital programme are also finishing: we have a new sound system, the re-pitching of the organ is almost complete, and the new interpretation will soon to be installed in the cathedral.
“But sustainability, not least in terms of generating and managing sufficient cash flow for day to day operations, needs a different leadership structure. Financial expertise and business management are not my particular vocational gifts, nor was I trained in such things, so the time has probably arrived to hand over the reins to someone more qualified than I in this field.”
The Very Rev Taylor said he would miss the city - and it has changed dramatically in the decade he has spent here.
He said: “I remember, in March 2007, when the removal men left us sitting on a pile of boxes and we went into Cathedral Square hoping to find something to eat. There was little to be had, except for Harriet’s tea room, and that closed at 4pm. The physical and cultural transformation of that particular part of the city is quite astounding.
“There have also been very rapid demographic changes which have brought their own challenges and opportunities to the city. Clearly the cathedral, as the visible icon of Peterborough has had, and still has, a great part to play in promoting cohesion and bringing people together through doors which are open to people of all faiths and none. Another remarkable change has been the cathedral’s partnership with the business community in raising the profile of Peterborough locally, regionally and beyond. While some cathedrals have four or five, or perhaps half a dozen local businesses signed up as corporate partners, Peterborough is I think unique in having 100 enterprises working together, as the prophet Jeremiah said, “to seek the welfare of the city”.
He is now looking forward to the future, and spending time with his Catherine and his family.
He said: “In a sense, as a priest you never retire. It will take us a couple of months to pack up the Deanery, which is the largest house we’ve ever had to equip. Wherever we go, it is likely that we will need to downsize. This time will also allow us to make some decisions about where we want to settle. We have a daughter in Northumberland, a son in London, a 95 year old father in the West Midlands and a 95 year old father-in-law in Hampshire. We will decide where we are most of use and offer to help out with local church ministry in that region.”