The New Dean of Carlisle Cathedral
We are delighted to announce The Reverend Canon Jonathan Brewster has been appointed as the new Dean of Carlisle.
What are you most looking forward to?
Following 900 years of faithful witness to the City, County and Diocese I am excited by the opportunity to lead the cathedral into the next phase of its mission and ministry, building a more diverse community of faith, hope and love and working alongside the on-site team of clergy, staff and volunteers.
What has been your ministry journey to this point?
I am fortunate to have had a varied ministry. I was ordained in Bradford Cathedral serving my curacy in the vibrant, inner-city parish of Great Horton. I led an ecumenical team of University Chaplains in the Diocese of London supporting staff and students at the University of Westminster before becoming Vicar of Christ Church with St John and St Saviour in Highbury growing the church over a fourteen-year period. During that time, I also served as Assistant Director of Ordinands, Area Dean of Islington and Acting Archdeacon of Hackney. In 2017 I moved to St Paul’s Cathedral as Residentiary Canon and Treasurer, overseeing the building and the commercial aspects of its work and relating them to the Cathedral’s spiritual mission of worship, prayer and service. More recently I have been serving a group of rural parishes in the Cartmel Peninsula, South Lakeland as an interim Mission Community Leader and realising afresh the importance of the ‘local’ in rural ministry.
How will your time at St Paul’s Cathedral support you in this role?
Like many other cathedrals Carlisle faces significant challenges going forward, including its financial sustainability, and embedding its new governance framework and I hope to bring some of the insights learned at St Paul’s Cathedral as Canon Treasurer to enable a bright future for the cathedral integrating its operational and commercial work with its primary role as a living Christian Church in the heart of the city.
What are your hopes for Carlisle Cathedral and what challenges are faced?
In an expanding city there are many opportunities for the cathedral to develop as part of a cultural hub, growing younger and reaching out to those who may not have come across the beauty and solace of its precincts. There are geographical, financial and cultural challenges as the cathedral relates its mission to the whole of the Diocese but with the strong foundations of prayer, worship and love for the people it serves, my prayer is that many would come to know the good news which it stands for.
Why is Carlisle Cathedral such a special place?
The cathedral’s role is not just as a big church in the heart of the city, but as a bell that chimes for all right across our ecumenical county. Founded in 1122 as an Augustinian Priory it became the cathedral church eleven years after that. Through 900 years the cathedral has served the City and County as a house of worship, a symbol of hope and a place of rest and has welcomed countless visitors, travellers, and pilgrims whoever they may be.
How well do you know Cumbria?
Growing up most of our family holidays were spent in the Lake District and so from a very young age I developed a fondness for the lakes, mountains, and life in Cumbria. My sister and her family have lived in Bassenthwaite for many years and I used to own a cottage in Penrith so became more familiar with the Northern Lakes. My current role is in the Cartmel Peninsula where it’s been wonderful getting to know the people and exploring new places in South Lakeland.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
I enjoy listening to live music (everything from Glastonbury to Glyndebourne!) am a keen musician and have played the cello in orchestras and the drums in a jazz trio. I love walking the dog on the fells, exploring new places with the family and have recently taken up paddle boarding although my children have taken to it far more rapidly than I have!