Dean of Exeter announces retirement

The Dean of Exeter, the Very Reverend Dr Jonathan Draper, announced his retirement this morning. The Cathedral’s Press Release is reproduced below.

Dean Jonathan announces retirement

12th March 2017

In recent months Exeter Cathedral has been on a journey of self-evaluation and change. That process has raised some challenging issues, not least financial. While some progress has been achieved, there are still many challenges ahead.

In that context, and having reached the age of 65 last month, after considerable thought and reflection the Dean, the Very Rev Jonathan Draper, has announced that he will retire at the end of August this year. He and his wife Maggie are on leave this week, and on his return Jonathan will be on sabbatical. He has been Dean for over five years and has achieved considerable change including renewing the outward focus to the city and county, and giving the Cathedral a greater mission focus. His preaching ministry has been greatly appreciated. He has led the huge improvements to the repair and maintenance of this historic building, leaving a legacy for generations to come.

Jonathan has been 34 years in ministry in places as diverse as London and York, in parishes, cathedrals and in theological education. Our prayers and thoughts are with Jonathan, Maggie and their family at this time.

The Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Revd Robert Atwell said: “Under Jonathan’s leadership the Cathedral has reached out to many within the city and county, and is known as a place of generous hospitality and welcome. Jonathan has been a friend to many and is respected as a thoughtful and imaginative preacher who has not been afraid to engage with contemporary issues. Like many other cathedrals, Exeter has faced a number of challenges in recent years. With the support of the Chapter, Jonathan has had to take tough decisions for the long-term good of the Cathedral. “

Also this week, Canon Victoria Thurtell has resigned from her post of Precentor with immediate effect, and is looking forward to a new ministry in due course. There will be an opportunity to say farewell and thank you to Victoria in the coming months.

To help the Cathedral continue its worshipping life, Bishop Martin Shaw has been appointed Acting Precentor, with immediate effect. The Bishop of Crediton, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally,  will provide pastoral oversight to the Cathedral during this time. Canon Dr Mike D Williams will Chair Chapter.

We thank God for the ministry of those who are leaving us, and for those who remain, and for all who worship and support our Cathedral.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Dean of Exeter announces retirement" in Law & Religion UK, 12 March 2017,

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