New Dean appointed for cathedral

Canon John Dobson with wife Nicola.
Canon John Dobson with wife Nicola.

The next Dean of Ripon has been announced as the Rev Canon John Dobson, who currently serves in the Diocese of Durham,

The appointment follows the death of the previous Dean, the Very Revd Keith Jukes, in May last year.

Canon Dobson said: “I’m delighted to be coming to Ripon – it’s both a huge privilege and a challenging responsibility – and it’s at a particularly exciting time as the new diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales is born.

“My future colleagues at Ripon have done such a good job sustaining the cathedral’s life in a time of deep sadness following Keith Jukes’ untimely death.

“I look forward to working with them in taking the cathedral forward to a new future as it works in partnership with the cathedrals of Bradford and Wakefield.”

Canon Dobson is currently Vicar of Blackwell All Saints and Salutation, and Priest-in-Charge of Coniscliffe.

He also serves as Area Dean of Darlington and is an Honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral.

He was brought up in Swillington (south east of Leeds) and, after attending Garforth Comprehensive, read Theology at Durham University before training for the ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon in Oxford.

He said: “Since I first visited as a boy, I’ve found Ripon Cathedral an inspiring place. Its music and welcome are already tremendous and I look forward to exploring how these can be secured and strengthened for the future as well as exploring how the cathedral can continue to add value to mission in the parishes and deaneries.”

To date, he has spent his entire ministry in the Diocese of Durham and the parishes he has worked with have seen significant growth.

He said: “I am passionate about churches being encouraged to grow and flourish and go out to make the local community more like heaven than otherwise it would be and my hope is that Ripon Cathedral can develop its ministry of supporting local parish churches.

“I also believe strongly that the Church needs to work in partnership with public, voluntary and private sectors, and I look forward to developing such links and partnerships in and from Ripon.”

The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford and Bishop-designate of Leeds for the new Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales which will be created at Easter, said: “I warmly welcome the appointment of Canon John Dobson as the next Dean of Ripon. He will bring much wisdom and experience to this role as he joins with the rest of us in shaping the new Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales.”

Canon Dobson is married to Nicola, headteacher of Bolton-on-Swale C of E Primary School and they have two children, James, 19, and Jessica, 16.

His interests include walking, bellringing, wine tasting, visiting art galleries and golf. He said: “I play golf with my son, James, but he’s better than I am. I only take the clubs to make the walk that bit more challenging.

“I have loved the Yorkshire Dales since being a boy – I used to play in the River Wharfe at Bolton Abbey, and as a family we have enjoyed our mobile home in Nidderdale and spent many holidays walking in the different dales”.

Canon Keith Punshon has served as Sub-Dean of the cathedral since the death of the Very Rev Keith Jukes.