THE Dean of Bradford was today appointed Dean of St Paul’s in London, nearly five months after his predecessor resigned in the wake of the row over anti-capitalist protesters camped outside.
The Very Rev Dr David Ison, 57, will take up the senior post in May, following the resignation of the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles on October 31.
The Rt Rev Knowles quit his post shortly before St Paul’s announced that it was suspending legal action against the Occupy London protesters.
The protest forced a week-long closure of the cathedral, the first time it had been closed since the Second World War, after officials received a report by health and safety officials.
The protesters were finally evicted last week from outside St Paul’s after legal action by the City of London Corporation.
The post of Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s, vacant after Dr Giles Fraser resigned rather than see the protesters evicted by force, has not yet been filled.
Dr Ison, who is married with four children, has been Dean of Bradford since 2005.
“My appointment as Dean of St Paul’s has been as unexpected for me as the vacancy itself was unanticipated,” he said.
“The upheavals of the last few months at St Paul’s, and the underlying spiritual, social, economic and political issues which they highlight for our country, are very much on the agenda for the Cathedral in London - but they are also issues for people, churches and cathedrals across the country.
“Even Bradford has had an Occupy camp, although it was in front of City Hall rather than at the Cathedral.”
The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Rev Nick Baines, said: “I am delighted that St Paul’s Cathedral is to have as its new dean a man of such warmth, ability and stature as David Ison.
“I am sad that Bradford will be losing a dean who has done extraordinary work in the last six-and-a-half years for the good of the diocese, the city and its diverse people.”
The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Dr Richard Chartres, welcomed the appointment of Dr Ison.
“Rarely before has St Paul’s role at the centre of both the Church in London and at the heart of this great, world city been more keenly felt than now, in the wake of the Occupy protest,” he said.
“With that dual responsibility comes an ongoing need and opportunity for the Cathedral to provide an important and relevant outlet for prayer, reflection and debate, accessible to all Londoners and to those from around the globe, who flock to this international heritage site.
“David brings with him the ideal credentials to take on the challenge and his experience of cathedral life in an urban centre will prove invaluable.
“His additional skills and knowledge of clergy training will be of significant wider benefit to the diocese as a whole.”
Dr Chartres also paid tribute to Mr Knowles, who resigned two weeks after the Occupy protest began, saying it had been a “testing” time for him personally and for the chapter of the cathedral.
Dr Chartres said: “I also want to thank again David’s predecessor as Dean, Graeme Knowles, who we were very sorry to see go.
“Graeme accomplished a great deal in his time at the cathedral, which should not be overshadowed by the events that led to his departure.
“He will be missed and I wish him well in his next role.”