I’ll hold Yorkshire in my heart pledges new Dean of St Paul’s

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one of Yorkshire’s most senior clerics has been appointed the new Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Downing Street yesterday announced the Very Rev Dr David Ison, Dean of Bradford, will take up the post in May.

His appointment follows the controversial resignation of the Right Rev Graeme Knowles in October who quit in the wake of a row over anti-capitalist protesters camped outside the cathedral.

Dr Ison, 57, has been Dean of Bradford since 2005 and said he would take the city’s “spirit” with him to the capital.

“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.

“St Paul’s position in London life, and within the Church, is unique. Its status has been brought even more sharply into focus following the events of the past few months, with the appearance of the Occupy camp.

“The protesters may now have moved on but a number of the issues they brought to the fore cannot be ignored and the cathedral has an important part to play in ensuring they are amplified and addressed.”

He described Bradford as a “special place”.

“There is a huge amount of commitment to the future of the city and a humour and realism which makes it a very rewarding place to be. It has been a welcoming place to come to and it is a hard place to say goodbye to,” he added.

“I will go south holding Bradford in my heart and I will take the perspectives of working in what are considered more marginal areas, in London and the Midlands as well as Yorkshire, into the heart of the capital.

“Bradford’s a small enough city to be able to get to know people well, and large enough to offer all kinds of possibilities, and I think its future is looking more hopeful than for some time. Being here has been testing and stretching and fulfilling in all kinds of ways, and I’m so grateful to have had the chance to work here.

“I don’t see it as leaving Bradford behind, but as taking the spirit of Bradford with me to our capital city.”

The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Rev Nick Baines, praised Dr Ison as a man of “warmth, ability and stature”.

He added: “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.

“London’s gain is Bradford’s loss, but it is good to know that a deep affection for and knowledge of Bradford will now be resident at the heart of the City of London.”

The protests in London forced a week-long closure of St Paul’s, 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 Rt Rev Knowles left shortly before St Paul’s announced that it was suspending legal action against the Occupy London protesters.

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.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Dr Richard Chartres, said: “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.

“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.”

mike.waites@ypn.co.uk