Dean to leave York Minster to become a bishop

Heading to ecclesiastical pastures new: Vivienne Faull. Photographs: Richard McDougall

The Dean of York is leaving the Minster and the city after being appointed a bishop.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Dr Vivienne Faull as the 57th Bishop of Bristol. She will be consecrated on July 3 in St Paul’s Cathedral.

“The invitation to become Bishop of Bristol is a delight to me: the Diocese of Bristol is pioneering,” Viv Faull said today.

“It was the first to ordain women as priests and it is investing in several ambitious projects around the diocese as it grows in confidence.”

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The Dean of York greets the Duke of York: Vivienne Faull and Prince Andrew on the Minster steps in 2017. Photograph: YorkMix

She would be sad to leave her present role, she said.

“But alongside the delight there is the sadness of leaving the Minster and York, and in particular the volunteers, worshippers and staff.

“It has been wonderful to lead this great community in inviting everyone to discover God’s love.”

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said he rejoiced at her appointment.

“She has been a great Dean for York, taking risks for the Kingdom of God, for example persuading the Dean and Chapter to put on the Mystery Plays inside the Minster.

“She has made the Minster a great home of hospitality, worship and friendliness.”

The Archbishop also looked to the future: “The process of finding her successor will now begin and on the day of the Confirmation of her Election, an Acting Dean will be announced,” he said.

Ups and downs in York

The Dean with some of the people who were involved in the York Minster restoration project. Photograph: Richard McDougall

Vivienne Faull was appointed Dean of York in 2012, overseeing the completion of a complex £20 million Heritage Lottery Fund project to restore York Minster’s Great East Window.

She also oversaw the opening of Revealing York Minster, an exhibition in the undercroft, in 2013.

Her most controversial moments were connected with the decision to disband the voluntary band of York Minster bellringers.

The decision, taken for “safeguarding reasons” in October 2016, silenced the Minster’s bells for months and caused a row that made headlines around the world.

Her interest in the sustainable regeneration of communities led to her nomination as chair of the City of York Council’s community forum for the York Central project – the largest brown field mixed development site in the north of England.

Viv’s life and times

Viv with former city councillor Sonja Crisp in the Minster undercroft. Photograph: City of York Council

Viv, 62, was brought up in a village on the Wirral. She studied at the Queen’s School, Chester and Saint Hilda’s College, Oxford.

She taught with Church Mission Society in North India and youth work in Everton before training at St John’s College, Nottingham.

She was ordained a deaconess and returned to Liverpool. Amidst a variety of ministry roles, she was ordained priest in 1994.

Viv became the first woman to lead a Church of England Cathedral as Provost and then Dean of Leicester in 2000.

In that role, she was incumbent of St Martin, Leicester, a city centre parish with significant diversity and areas of deprivation. In 2012, she was appointed Dean of York.

Viv is married to Michael, a hospital consultant.