Canon John Dobson (49) who until recently was a vicar and Area Dean in the Diocese of Durham has been chosen to succeed the Very Revd Keith Jukes who died suddenly last year. Canon Dobson will be installed at a service led by the Bishop of Knaresborough, the Rt Revd James Bell, and welcomed to the city by civic and community leaders, and clergy and lay people from across the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.
The Lord Lieutenants of North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire, MPs, civic and community leaders as well as representatives of the armed forces will swell the large congregation which will also include former parishioners and colleagues of Canon Dobson from the Diocese of Durham, who will take part in the service, accompanying him to the West Door at the start of the service and announcing him to the Cathedral.
Before the service, Canon Dobson will pray silently in the Saxon crypt, built by St Wilfrid in 672AD, a place of prayer and pilgrimage in Ripon for more than 1300 years. During the service, he will takes oaths on the Ripon Bible, dating from the 13th Century. Canon Keith Punshon, Sub-Dean of Ripon will lead the Dean designate to his stall and place him in it. The Deans of Bradford and Wakefield Cathedrals, the sister cathedrals of Ripon in the new Diocese, will anoint Canon Dobson’s hands with oil, and the Residentiary Canons of Ripon (Canons Keith Punshon, Paul Greenwell and Elizabeth Sewell) will clothe him with a cope, the cloak of office.
Once installed, Dean John will end the service by inviting the congregation to join him in renewed commitment to grow in the Christian faith, to share that faith with the wider community, to work with others to serve the needs of the world, and to follow Jesus’ command to love one another.
Canon John Dobson is married to Nicola, a head teacher, and the couple have two children, James and Jessica.
Looking forward to the service, Canon Dobson said, “Following our move to Ripon, we have received a very warm welcome from people within both the Cathedral community and the wider city, not least from the Mayor and the Hornblower. Now I very much look forward to Saturday’s service in the Cathedral, an ancient place of prayer and pilgrimage, in which I will become Dean. After what seems like an eternity of administrative process, preparations and anticipation, I am delighted to be reaching the point of receiving the reins and getting on with job.”
John Dobson was born and brought up near Leeds, in the village of Swillington. It was in the ancient village church of St. Mary that he sang in the choir, rang the bells and was encouraged in the faith. He read Theology at Durham University then trained for ordained ministry in the church at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. Until now he has served entirely within the Diocese of Durham, first as a curate at Benfieldside, then Darlington. While there he led growing congregations, establishing the new parish of Blackwell overseeing several significant building projects and, as Area Dean since 2001, leading the pastoral reorganisation of the whole Deanery. He has also served the wider diocese as Chair of the Diocesan Synod House of Clergy, Chair of the Diocesan Church Growth Enabling Group and Chair of the group planning the building of the new Diocesan centre.
Reflecting his long service in Durham diocese, the Gospel reading on Saturday will be read by the Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, Dean of Durham.
Among those offering an official welcome to West Yorkshire and the Dales during the service will be Lord Crathorne, Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, mayors from the area and the Chair of North Yorkshire County Council, Revd Richard Hall on behalf of the military community, Tom Ramsden, High Sheriff, on behalf of the rural community, Darren Dudman, Headteacher, on behalf of the educational community, and Gary Verity, of Welcome to Yorkshire.