Reepham's rector, Margaret Dean, has been appointed an Honorary Canon of Norwich Cathedral. She will be installed in the Cathedral by Bishop Graham on 16 October at 3.30 pm.
The addition of “Honorary” to the title is because she will not be paid for this responsibility. The Church doesn’t go in for competitive and elimination games to find the best minister, like Masterchef or Strictly Come Dancing.
It is left to the Bishop to bestow the title of Canon as a token of thanks and recognition to clergy who have given distinguished service to the church and wider community.
The word canon is interesting; it is not a gun, which is spelt “cannon”. A canon is literally a straight piece of wood used as a ruler. It has come to mean a rule of community life, or a person living under rule as in a monastic community, or an authorised set of books like the Bible, or a prescribed form of prayer.
In the Church of England the title is given to those who share responsibility with the Dean for the oversight of the Cathedral. These include, as well as the Residentiary Canons, a number of clergy whom the Bishop wishes to associate with his Cathedral in gratitude and appreciation of their ministry.
Margaret’s appointment comes at a time when she is being asked to undertake extended responsibilities, although her appointment as a Canon is entirely separate to this.
Proposals are under way for our Deanery of Sparham to be divided into two team ministries. One of these will be formed by uniting Reepham, Salle, Thurning and Wood Dalling with Alderford with Attlebridge, Bylaugh, Elsing, Lyng, Great with Little Witchingham, Sparham, Swannington and Weston Longville.
Margaret will become the Team Rector of this team ministry, probably to be called the Reepham and Wensum Valley Team Ministry; she will work in partnership with a Team Vicar, yet to be appointed. This all sounds rather complicated, but the essence of it is co-operation and mutual support between clergy and parishes across a wider area.
It is only right that we should express our delight and rejoice in Margaret’s appointment as a Canon. We are blessed by her ministry among us, and that of Tim, her husband and Associate Minister, who is also our Rural Dean, and thank them for all they do.
Bishop Tony Foottit