Canon Theologian announced

27 November 2019

The Revd Canon Mark Oakley has accepted an invitation from the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, to become Canon Theologian at Wakefield Cathedral. In this honorary role, which he will hold alongside his role as Dean of St John’s College Cambridge, Canon Oakley will support the Bishop and the Cathedral Chapter in their theological reflections and encourage integrity in their discernment and decision-making. Canon Oakley will also be invited to preach in the cathedral from time to time. Commenting on the appointment, the Bishop of Leeds said ’I am delighted that Mark has accepted this significant role in the life of the cathedral’; and the Very Revd Simon Cowling, Dean of Wakefield, added, ‘we look forward to welcoming Mark as our Canon Theologian and to exploring with him the ways in which we can make theology both exciting and relevant for the communities we serve’. Mark will be installed at a special service of Evensong in Wakefield Cathedral on 15 March 2020.

A short biography

Canon Mark Oakley read Theology at London and Oxford before being ordained in St Paul’s Cathedral in 1993. He served his title at St John’s Wood Church and then served as Chaplain to the Bishop of London, Rector of St Paul’s, Covent Garden (known as ‘the Actors’ Church), Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe and, from 2010 to 2018, Chancellor and Residentiary Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral. He is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College London and Visiting Scholar at Sarum College. Since 1996 he has also been a Deputy Priest in Ordinary to HM the Queen. He was appointed Dean, Fellow and Tutor of St John’s College, Cambridge, in 2018.

His duties at St John’s include responsibility for the conduct of the services in the College Chapel and oversight of pastoral care provided by the Chapel within the College community.

Canon Oakley is the author of several books including The Splash of Words: Believing in Poetry (Canterbury Press) which won the 2019 Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing. His recent books include By Way of the Heart (Canterbury Press), a collection of sermons, and My Sour-Sweet Days: George Herbert and the Journey of the Soul (SPCK). He is an Ambassador for StopHate UK, Patron of Tell MAMA (supporting those affected by anti-Muslim hate crime) and a Trustee of the Civil Liberties Trust. His interests include poetry, theatre and human rights.

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