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Reverend Canon Jerry Lepine visits Bradford
Bradford Cathedral will open its doors wider as a public space under the leadership of its new dean when he arrives this summer.
The man taking on the role, the Reverend Canon Jerry Lepine, was in the city yesterday for a civic reception.
He leaves his job as a priest in Nottingham in July, to take over from the acting dean, the Reverend Canon Andy Williams.
The Cathedral will have been without a permanent dean for 20 months, since Dr David Ison left to become Dean of St Paul’s in London.
Bishop of Bradford the Right Reverend Nick Baines said someone was need to “fill the gap” and added: “Jerry fits the bill. He brings many gifts and vast experience.”
Mr Lepine wants to increase the Cathedral’s connection with the arts to attract more people to the building. “I see the Cathedral as a welcome space for the community, not just for worship but as a public space,” he said.
The Cathedral is already a venue for Bradford Community Cinema 2013 and has Artspace, an area for exhibitions.
Mr Lepine said he was excited about the move coming at time of potential change and gave his “whole-hearted” support to the Bradford synod vote which was held on Saturday, that could see the city’s Diocese dissolved and replaced with a new super- diocese covering West Yorkshire and the Dales.
The Archbishop of York will decide whether the matter goes before the General Synod in July for the ultimate vote but Mr Lepine said: “I’m really encouraged that Bradford is up for this kind of opportunity and change and I whole-heartedly support the decision that was taken and look forward to working with that decision.”
He said becoming part of a bigger diocese, if it went ahead, would not change his work “on the ground”.
Mr Lepine, who is married to Christine and has two grown-up children, described himself as a parish priest and a team player.
A lifelong sports fan, he said he hoped the community would seize faith just like Bradford City’s fans had during the Bantams’ Wembley glory.
“They kept cheering and waving their flags and signing their hearts out despite goals going in against them. There was something deeper going on. They pulled together and were believing in something – they had showed their faith – that’s the gutsy spirit Bradford needs to grasp.”
Canon Lepine will be officially installed as dean in a service at Bradford Cathedral on Sunday, July 14, at 4pm.