Diocese of Exeter

Dean announces retirement months after being slammed by bishop

Mon 13 Mar 2017
By Alex Williams

The dean of Exeter Cathedral in Devon is to retire, months after he was criticised in a strongly-worded report by his own bishop.

After more than five years in the role, the Very Rev Jonathan Draper is going to retire at the end of August, the landmark has revealed.

Paying tribute to Dean Jonathan, Bishop of Exeter Rt Rev Robert Atwell said: "Jonathan has been a friend to many and is respected as a thoughtful and imaginative preacher who has not been afraid to engage with contemporary issues."

Bishop Robert's comments come six months after he published a report claiming Dean Jonathan had been described by members of his own congregation as "remote and disinterested".

In a report last September, he concluded: "Although an excellent preacher, the visitors were repeatedly informed that the lack of spiritual leadership and pastoral care emanates from the dean himself."

"He does little to encourage staff and seems to have little contact with many regular members of the congregation who claim to find him remote and disinterested."

The announcement of Dean Jonathan's retirement came in a statement which also warned Exeter Cathedral is "facing some challenging issues, not least financial".

It also announced that Canon Victoria Thurtell has resigned from her post of Precentor with immediate effect.

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