The Very Revd Karen Rooms Installed as Dean of Leicester

The Very Revd Karen Rooms was installed as the third Dean of Leicester by the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, on Saturday 9 March in a service which honoured the Cathedral's place as the beating heart of our city and county.

The service marked the beginning of a new ministry for Karen and the Cathedral, which reopened in November 2023 after an extensive refurbishment and restoration project. As well as enacting the legal process required for Karen to become Dean of Leicester, the service also provided an opportunity for thanksgiving for the work of God among us in the diocese, to pray for Karen, and ask for God’s blessing upon her.

Among those playing an active part in the service were: children from the Cathedral's Junior Church and members of St Nicholas' Church, who together presented Karen to the Bishop; the music group from All Saints’ Church, Belgrave; Jay Hulme, poet and churchwarden of St Nicholas' Church; Karen's family; and the Cathedral's choir and College of Canons.

The service had an intercultural flavour, in recognition of the Cathedral's place as one of the partner churches in the diocese's Intercultural Worshipping Communities programme. Alongside traditional hymns like Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer, Rock of Ages, and The Lord's My Shepherd, All Saints' music group sang How Great Thou Art in Hindi, and the choir sang the response of praise in Swahili. Prayers of intercession were also said in Swiss German, Cantonese, Luganda and Malayalam.

The Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow, said: "It was a privilege to install Karen as the new Dean of Leicester. With her courageous and compassionate leadership, and her passion for justice and equity, I have every confidence that she will continue to nurture, disciple and grow the worshipping community at the Cathedral, and ensure the Cathedral lovingly serves and inspires our whole community and diocese".

The Very Revd Karen Rooms says, “It was a real privilege to be installed as the third Dean of Leicester in this great city and county on Saturday. It was very moving to be supported by so many people in the Cathedral as I formally took on the role. Although I have been Acting Dean for over a year now, stepping into the role fully and formally was a significant moment.

“As Dean, my work is in three areas: overseeing the life and work of the Cathedral – leading what we call the ‘mother church’ of the Diocese – the Church of England in Leicestershire – and playing our part in the Diocese, and together with the Bishops, working with people in our different communities for the common good.

“I want Leicester Cathedral to be a cathedral for everyone – where people with different identities feel seen and know they are welcome. Our newly refurbished building is a wonderful place to visit, and I am particularly looking forward to the opening of our new Heritage and Learning Centre later this year, where we will tell stories of the city and county, both from the past and as they unfold in the present. We are a centre of Christian worship, with open doors and hope we can be a beating heart of love and welcome in this city and county.”

The service was attended by the Bishop of Loughborough, Saju Muthalaly: and Robert Freeman, Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Leicester, and the Deans of Chester, Derby, and Southwell.

Also in attendance were Richard Brooks DL representing The Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire; Henrietta Chubb, High Sherrif of Leicestershire; Dr Susan Barton, Lord Mayor of Leicester; City Mayor of Leicester, and Dr Kevin Feltham, Chair of Leicestershire County Council.

Karen is the third Dean of Leicester, a post which has existed since 2002 - before which the postholder was referred to as the Provost. The Dean is a senior priest in the Diocese and exercises leadership of the Cathedral – its worship, people, mission, outreach and public life, overseeing governance, safeguarding, staff, and operations.

First published on: 11th March 2024
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