New Dean of Southwell announced

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The new Dean with, from left: Canon Nigel Coates, Chief Executive Nigel Spraggins, Bishop Paul Williams, Canon Jacqui Jones and Sir John Peace

The Venerable Nicola Sullivan, currently Archdeacon of Wells, in the Diocese of Bath & Wells, will be the new Dean of Southwell, it was announced today.

Nicola, who will take up the role later in the year, said: “I am delighted and honoured to be invited to become the next Dean of Southwell, serving both the Minster and the wider communities of the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham.

“I’m drawn to the Minster’s rich and inspiring spiritual, musical and historic heritage and the many opportunities this enables to invite everyone who enters its doors every day to encounter the presence of Jesus Christ.

“I feel immensely privileged to be leading an experienced and dedicated Chapter and staff team, working together to shape the Minster’s future in God’s purposes and mission. I know this beautiful Cathedral is held in deep affection by the town and County, and its committed congregations and volunteers give the Minster a very special identity as a place of faith, prayer and welcome.

“I look forward to building relationships within the Minster, the wider Church and in the civic life of the town and County, and working with Bishop Paul as he leads the diocese in the coming years.

“While I am sad to be leaving Bath & Wells and my many wonderful colleagues after 17 very happy and fulfilling years, I’m excited about getting to know the people and places of the East Midlands.”

Nicola arrived at Southwell Minster this morning (April 4th) accompanied by the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Williams, and the Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace. She and her husband Terry were welcomed at the West Door by Canon Nigel Coates and Canon Jacqui Jones, from the Minster, and Nigel Spraggins, Chief Executive of the diocese.

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The new Dean with Sarah Clark, the Archdeacon of Nottingham

Bishop Paul said: “I am very pleased that Nicola has been appointed to be the next Dean of Southwell. She has a truly hopeful and engaging vision for the ministry of the whole church, which she communicates with immense warmth and wisdom. Nicola brings considerable experience of Cathedral and diocesan life after 17 years serving churches and communities in Somerset. She is a gifted leader of teams as well as an inspirational communicator of the faith.

“The Minster already plays a vital role in the mission of the diocese and every year welcomes tens of thousands of people from all parts of the county and beyond. It is a jewel in the Christian heritage that has shaped our region for many centuries.  Nicola will be joining a creative and dedicated team in the Minster as we look to further extend our hospitality and introduce new generations to the story of Jesus Christ for our world today.”

After meeting other Minster staff, Nicola headed into Nottingham to meet with church and community leaders to learn more about the life of the city.

As the Dean, Nicola will be the most senior resident cleric at the Minster, leading its work across the diocese and working closely with Bishop Paul.

The Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, said: “Nicola’s appointment as Dean of Southwell is good news for the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham.  Nicola will bring her joyful faith and warm pastoral heart to her new role.  We shall miss her greatly in Bath & Wells Diocese as she has been an inspiration, a wonderful colleague and a good friend to many people and parishes.”

Nicola was appointed Archdeacon of Wells and Residentiary Canon of Wells Cathedral in April 2007. Her current responsibilities include working with clergy and laity in the 190 churches across the Somerset archdeaconry as well as ministry in the Cathedral.

She studied theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and was ordained in 1995, serving her curacy in Earlham St Anne, Norwich, before moving back to the West Country in 1999 to be Associate Vicar at Bath Abbey. She went to Wells in 2002 to take up a post as Bishop’s Chaplain and Pastoral Assistant to Bishop Peter Price.  The following year she was also made a Prebendary and Sub Dean of Wells Cathedral.

In 2013 Nicola was elected for a three year period as one of the eight female participating observers in the House of Bishops.

Prior to ordination Nicola, who grew up in rural Suffolk, worked as a nurse and midwife in London, Bristol, and Africa. In 2014 she married Terry Westwood and the Archdeacon’s household expanded to accommodate a husband, two dogs and a cat.

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Bishop Paul Williams and the new Dean