HOME FROM HOME FOR NEW SUB DEAN OF WAKEFIELD CATHEDRAL
Throughout his 34-year ministry Revd Canon Tony Macpherson has never worked more than 20 miles from Wakefield Cathedral.
He was ordained there in 1980, watched his youngest daughter, Catherine, follow in his footsteps when she was ordained there in 2010, and today Bishop Nick has announced he will be installed there as the next sub Dean and Canon Pastor.
Said Canon Tony: “I am really excited to be able to play a fuller part in the cathedral team.
It’s a great place to work, and while I loved my diocesan-wide role, I am really pleased to be able to focus on cathedral work as the next stage of my ministry.
Originally from the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, Tony was brought up in the church, though none of his family had ever been ordained. He trained to be a teacher, but as soon as he left home, he began to discover church for himself and it was at that point that something clicked – he decided ordination was the path for him. So after qualifying as a teacher (his back up plan if his bid for ordination failed), he went straight into ordination training and his first curacy found him in Morley, Leeds.
This was followed by a post in Penistone and Thurlstone, now part of Sheffield Diocese, and then he moved to Grimethorpe, near Barnsley, just as the coal mine in the village was closing.
“It was a tough time for everyone in those villages; man, woman and child. The pit closures taught me a lot about community, about the value of community and the way in which communities can suffer so deeply, especially when events are taken out of their control,” said Tony.
Tony walked beside the Grimethorpe villagers on their marches to save the pit in the 1990s, he joined them in shouting the slogans: Coal Not Dole and watched the community collapse in on itself as the pit was deemed unviable and closed.
“On reflection, it prepared me; it made me who I am as a priest today,” he added.
His next role found him on the edge of the city of Wakefield, at St Michael’s, Westgate, and priest in charge of Horbury Junction and Horbury St Mary’s and Rural Dean of the deanery. He was made Canon Missioner for the historic diocese of Wakefield in 2007 – based in the Cathedral - and worked alongside parishes on Everyday God, Transformational Planning and visioning. He was instrumental in the big events held in the historic diocese of Wakefield including, All the Saints at Cannon Hall, Arise at Nostell Priory and the Party in the Precinct to mark the end of the old diocese.
Said Tony: “ My dream here at the Cathedral is to continue to build a place that’s open and accepting, where everyone feels welcome, a place where each member of the cathedral team can play their part.
“I want the team to feel involved, to feel excited about the future – I want them to be empowered and play their part.
“We face another exciting couple of years with the next phase of our renewal project, Project 2015 - but our work here is not just about physical structure of cathedral, but about the life of the congregation and our community.
“Christianity is not accepted by everyone and one of the main challenges the Church faces today is growing disciples. I want this place to speak to every member of the community, regardless of whether they have faith or none and here in the heart of the city we are in a great position to begin to do just that.
“But that depends – and it depends on creating a thriving, flourishing, caring, outward-looking Christian community here at Wakefield Cathedral.
“And that’s what I want to be part of,” he added.
The Dean of Wakefield, the Very Revd Jonathan Greener said: “We are delighted that the Bishop has appointed Canon Tony Macpherson as Canon Pastor and Sub-Dean. Tony is a very familiar face in Wakefield, and well-known to us here at the cathedral, where for the last seven years he has been Canon Missioner, with his time shared with parishes around the diocese.
“Many have benefited from his wise and generous pastoral care. But Tony has warned us not to expect just more of the same. Coming full-time to the cathedral, he will bring fresh thinking and energy to the role as we continue to renew the building for the 21st century.
Pictured here, the Revd Canon Tony Macpherson and the Cathedral's Community Missioner, Heidi Smith, take a breath before serving with Pop Up Cathedral at an event held at Holy Trinity, Ripon earlier this year.
Tony will be licensed by Bishop Nick on January 11 at 3.30pm during Evensong at Wakefield Cathedral.