Thank you for your interest in the role of Precentor at St Albans Cathedral. We hope you will consider applying. In consultation with the Dean and Chapter, The Bishop of St Albans is seeking to appoint a Minor Canon Precentor at St Albans Cathedral. Could this be you? Thank you for your interest in and prayerful discernment of this exciting ministry opportunity as part of the Cathedral team.
The Bishop of St Albans, with the Dean and Chapter, is seeking to appoint a priest to the clergy team of this busy parish church Cathedral, with particular responsibility for coordinating the liturgical and musical life of the Cathedral Community.
Although the Dean has ultimate responsibility for Cathedral worship, this is deputed on a day to day basis to the Precentor.
As a place of prayer and pilgrimage, liturgy and music are a key part of the Cathedral’s mission and ministry. We are seeking a clergy colleague as a new Precentor who has a vision to ensure that our worship life reflects this and connects obviously with our key priorities including our ministry of welcome to all, and our commitments to social, racial and environmental justice.
As well as ministry with and for those who come to the Cathedral, we are committed to our role to the support the worshipping life and mission of our Diocese in the counties of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, including all the schools and community groups we are connected with.
This role is for a priest who has a deep interest in worship and music of the highest quality ministering as part of the team in one of the most active Cathedral congregations in the country. This might be your first post after having served your title, or it might be a new and next step after different ministry experiences.
Liturgy and Worship
● Take general responsibility for the liturgical life of the Cathedral on a day to day basis ensuring that it embodies the welcome, dignity, diversity and excellence to which St Albans Cathedral is committed.
● Offer strategic leadership, and work collaboratively, in the exploration and development of new opportunities for Cathedral worship as a key part of the Cathedral’s mission commitment.
● Work closely and collaboratively with the Master of the Music and Assistant Master of the Music, including in the choosing of hymns for all regular services.
● Sing Matins and Evensong when a choir is present, with the help of colleagues to cover days off.
● Ensuring that arrangements for special services run smoothly and efficiently, in conjunction with the Virgers and the Events and Visitor Experience Manager. Examples of regular special services are the Advent Procession, Carol services, Holy Week services, the County Justice Service, the Alban and Easter Pilgrimages, Patronal services, and Ordinations.
● Working closely with the Bishop’s Office and his Episcopal staff team in relation to Diocesan and other special services, their planning and administration.
● Liaise with outside bodies (e.g. schools and community groups) over occasional special services, where necessary reviewing or preparing services and ensuring that arrangements run smoothly.
● As necessary attend service planning meetings, both internal and with external bodies, and arrange any necessary rehearsals.
Music and Liturgy Administration
● With the support of the Canons PA prepare the monthly worship rota; including liaising with visiting celebrants and preachers.
● With the support of the Music and Liturgy Secretary, and liaising with the Music Department:
Prepare orders of service, for regular and special services, and arranging printing with the Cathedral Office or external printers, and producing detailed running orders for services.
Prepare the lectionary of Sunday readings for services.
Oversee the preparation of the monthly Music List.
● Promote the Cathedral to visiting choirs and making arrangements for them to cover Cathedral Choir holiday periods.
Pastoral and Chaplaincy
● The Precentor is Chaplain to the Cathedral Music Department including,
Pastoral responsibility for the lay clerks, boy and girl choristers and choir families;
Attending choir trips and accompanying choir tours.
● The Precentor is Chaplain to the Cathedral’s Guild of Servers, attending their meetings and ensuring the safer recruitment and training of new servers.
Cathedral staff and volunteers
● Work collaboratively with the Cathedral Events and Visitor Experience Manager in relation to the management of the work of the Virgers.
● Oversee the work of the Virgers team in relation to the worship life of the Cathedral, including regular meetings and oversight of their daily liturgical work, ensuring adequate training and development is in place as is necessary to ensure all understand their liturgical role.
● Regularly communicate with the Cathedral Wardens in relation to service planning and smooth running.
● Support, liaise with and line manage the Head Server.
● Encourage and further develop lay training (for example leading intercessions, reading lessons, being a server or assisting with Holy Communion) so as to realise the gifts of all God’s people, and to nurture vocations to lay and ordained ministry.
● Liaise with the team of PA and live streaming operators, with the Director of Property and Fabric, to ensure that sound and camera systems are in working order and training to operators is provided.
● Advise and support the Flower Guild regarding floor displays.
● Liaise with the Marketing Department in providing liturgical content for marketing publications and social media content, and in promoting worship to new audiences.
As Minor Canon
As one of the team of Cathedral clergy other responsibilities include the following:
● In our shared Benedictine tradition attendance at Morning and Evening Prayer.
● Sharing with other clergy in the leading of worship, preaching, and occasional offices.
● In conjunction with the Canon for Mission and Pastoral Care, preparing people for baptism, confirmation (choristers) and marriage.
● Sharing in the wider pastoral care of the Cathedral congregations and parish.
● Assisting the Canon for Mission and Pastoral Care in the supervision of the liturgical work and development of the Alban Interns.
● Occasional involvement in the leading of worship for our Church Schools, Abbey Primary and Townsend School at the Cathedral.
● Membership of the Cathedral Mission and Ministry Committee and involvement in the discussion and planning of the life of the Cathedral Community.
● Membership of the Pastoral, Diary Planning and Pilgrimage Committees.
We hope to appoint a Precentor who can demonstrate the following attributes, qualities and skills:
● A disciplined and mature life of daily prayer who will be nourished in their own spirituality by Cathedral worship in the Benedictine tradition.
● Personal empathy and compatibility with the spiritual and liturgical tradition of St Albans Cathedral.
● Creativity and imagination, with a commitment to find fresh ways to engage diverse people in worship and spiritual life.
● An ability and a desire to work collaboratively as part of a team, as well as the discipline to work alone.
● A practical working knowledge of liturgy and liturgical principles.
● Musical ability and a good singing voice.
● Commitment to the Cathedral’s mission statement and an understanding of the part liturgy and music play in that.
● Excellent administrative and organizational skills, including timely communication, attention to detail and good proof-reading skills.
● Good interpersonal skills and the ability to work well with a wide range of people.
● Stability, resilience and the ability to work efficiently under pressure.
● The ability to say no when necessary (sometimes to some quite senior and ‘high-powered’ people).
● A good preacher, with the ability to lead worship and preach for a large congregation with sensitivity and understanding.
● A well-grounded theology.
● A breadth of pastoral experience and good pastoral skills.
● Well-developed computer literacy.
As the seat of the Bishop of St Albans and Cathedral church for the Diocese of St Albans, St Albans Cathedral is home to two medieval shrines, several world-class medieval wall paintings and an amazing mix of architectural styles that bear witness to many centuries of its life, first as a monastic Abbey and now as a Cathedral. It is the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain and the core of the existing building dates over 900 years. Conserving and protecting the building is an ongoing challenge, responsibility and privilege.
With an Electoral Roll of over 1200 adults the Cathedral is home to a vibrant and active community, made up of our worshipping congregations, volunteers, staff and many other individuals. It is both a place that holds large scale events and services, and one that encourages more intimate prayer and reflection. In this dual role of Cathedral and parish church, worship and mission combine with local and national profile.
The Cathedral has a vision to grow its presence and impact in the wider community, focussing on social justice, the environment, inclusion and care for those around us. It can only do so by working with others; both locally, across the diocese and more widely.
Liturgy and music are central to our worship and the life of the Cathedral. We have two of the finest cathedral choirs in the country, a wonderful parish choir, a magnificent organ, a busy programme of musical events and concerts, and various voluntary choirs and music groups.
Learning is at the heart of human flourishing and core to both our history and mission. The Cathedral is a nationally renowned centre for heritage and theological learning, delivering a rich programme for schools and adults alike. We seek to offer learning experiences and opportunities to people of all ages, all levels of education, and of all traditions and faiths and none. Our new facilities have provided a whole host of new learning opportunities.
The renewal of the exterior areas around the Cathedral building is vital to draw people to us and to care for our built environment. The Sumpter Yard Revived project, to improve the environmental sustainability and accessibility at the east of the Cathedral was completed in Autumn 2022. Our long-term masterplan, as yet unfunded, is a vision for the future which further improves accessibility, cares for the environment and creation, maximises community use and enhances the setting of our beautiful building.
The Cathedral plays an important role in growing the local economy to support visitor growth and residents’ engagement with their local city. Our rich programme of events, concerts, exhibitions and special services all contribute to the delivery of this priority and the Cathedral’s financial sustainability.
St Albans Cathedral is an independent charitable organisation and receives no regular direct funding from the Government. Our ongoing financial health is therefore dependent on the continued diversification and growth of our income. This includes income from visitors, donors, grant-making bodies, fundraising, fees, commercial trading and investments.
The nature of who we are means we are a people-focused organisation, and it is our people who are the driving force in bringing the stones of our historic building alive. The work of the Cathedral is sustained by around 55 staff and some 600 volunteers. We have a number of part-time workers and encourage flexible working where it is appropriate.
Further information about the Cathedral can be found on our website:www.stalbanscathedral.org
To apply for this role, please go to our vacancies page: https://www.stalbanscathedral.org/minor-canon-precentor-role