From The Right Revd Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro
Truro Cathedral faces a time of significant challenge. At the same time, however, this is a moment of unparalleled opportunity: an opportunity above all for a new Dean to lead the Cathedral into a fresh season of fruitfulness in ministry and in mission.
The Cathedral’s strapline is ‘Sacred space: common ground’, and that is indeed how people across Cornwall see it. In its very architecture it speaks powerfully of God and his Kingdom, and yet it is also very much their ‘place’, into which they feel very free to wander and ‘be’.
Following the Visitation of the Cathedral, my Determinations were published in January and, at their hear, they call for the Cathedral’s renewal. This must above all else be a renewal in the Spirit, with a renewed sense of prayerful purpose at its very heart, rooted in its worship and community life, leading to a healthier corporate culture, deepening discipleship and fresh energy in mission. The new Dean must make this his or her very highest priority, and must have the necessary gifts of leadership, emotional intelligence, personal resilience and - above all else - deep-rooted spirituality, confidence and trust in God to enable and ensure significant change and progress in this area.
This represents a ‘kairos’ moment for the Cathedral, for the Diocese and for Cornwall, and I look forward very much to working with the new Dean in seeing the significant opportunities come to fruition, the Lord being our helper.
Truro itself is Cornwall’s ‘capital’ and its only city. It is a place to which people across west and central Cornwall (at least) look. It is the seat of Cornwall Council, a general hospital, a significant number of educational establishments, and is a major retail centre. Truro’s population swells by several times its usual size on a normal working day.
Truro Cathedral lies at the very heart of this city, and despite its relative ‘youth’ (it was only completed 113 years ago) it occupies a unique place in the affections of people across Cornwall: very happily, people often talk of it as ‘Cornwall’s Cathedral’. At the same time it also welcomes a very significant number of tourists and other visitors.
These will include:
Truro Cathedral’s foundation in the late 19th century gave tangible expression to an historically keen sense of Christian and civic identity in Cornwall. The witness in Cornwall of the missionary saints of the Celtic church is honoured and celebrated. The ancient language is being reinvigorated and ancient centres of learning such as Glasney College are succeeded by the development of university campuses at Falmouth and Penryn. The age of industry with its great strengths in tin mining, engineering and China clay extraction was powerful at the time of our foundation.
It has largely given way to a thriving tourism and heritage industry alongside technological research and innovation. The backbone of agriculture, food production and fishing continues to echo the distinctive environment of the Cornish peninsula. That environment has stimulated generations of creative workers in arts and crafts and continues to do so.
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are places where people live in small towns and villages characterised by a strong sense of local identity and by significant variations in personal and societal wealth. This local identity is owned by those who are Cornish born and those who have come to live here. Today, the Cathedral witnesses to the distinctiveness of community life in the far south west of England and takes its place as one of the symbols of a very distinctive culture.
Our new Dean will need to be someone who can readily make their way in this environment, bringing the treasures of Anglican Cathedral life into the heart of Cornwall’s being and encouraging Cornish life in all its richness to find its expression in the Cathedral.