Senior members of the Roman Catholic and Methodist churches have been invited to join the College of Westminster Abbey.
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, has appointed Mgr Mark Langham, until recently Administrator of the Westminster Cathedral, and the Reverend Martin Turner, Superintendent Minister of Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, to the senior advisory body of one of the most famous Anglican churches in the world.
Members of the College of Westminster Abbey meet at least twice a year to offer an independent perspective on the day-to-day management of the Abbey by its Dean and Chapter. The College, which is chaired by the Dean, includes in its membership senior honorary officers, including the High Steward Lord Hurd, High Bailiff Sir Roy Strong and the Lord Mayor of Westminster, representatives of the Schools within the Abbey precincts and Abbey senior staff and advisers. This is the first time that representatives of other Christian denominations have been invited to join the College.
Dr Hall said: ‘I greatly value the friendship developing with the Administrator of Westminster Cathedral and the Superintendent Minister of Methodist Central Hall, with whose churches we at Westminster Abbey are partners in the Gospel. This move will further embed our collaboration in the Lord’s vineyard and be an effective sign of the “dialogue of life” which promotes the reconciliation of all Christians.’
Mgr Mark Langham joined Westminster Cathedral staff in 1990, first as Precentor from 1991 to 1993 and then as Sub-Administrator from 1993 to 1996. He became Parish Priest of St Mary of the Angels in Bayswater in 1996 where he stayed until 2001. He was then appointed Administrator of Westminster Cathedral.
The Reverend Martin Turner has been Superintendent Minister of Central Hall since 2001. He is a Conference Elected member of the Methodist Conference, and has recently completed two terms on both the Methodist Council and the Methodist Strategy and Resources Committee. He led Methodist Evangelicals Together (then Headway) for a number of years, has been a speaker at Spring Harvest and Easter People, and was a Methodist representative on the initial Talks about Talks before the Anglican Methodist Covenant.
Mgr. Langham said: ’I am deeply honoured to be asked to join the College of Westminster Abbey. In the work of proclaiming the Gospel, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral are increasingly drawn together, and this initiative will strengthen those bonds of friendship and witness. I thank the Dean for his kindness and generous support, which have laid firm foundations of ever closer collaboration between our two communities.’
Revd Turner said: ‘I feel delighted and honoured to have been invited to join the College of Westminster Abbey. In recent years the relationship between our two Churches has deepened enormously, and I greatly value my personal friendship with Dean John Hall and the team of Canons. At the heart of this great city this is a visible sign of our working together in sharing the Gospel.’
Two other new College members have also been appointed. They are the Abbey’s consultant archaeologist Professor Warwick Rodwell and its Clerk of the Works Mr Jim Vincent.
Warwick Rodwell set up in private practice as a consultant archaeologist in 1981 and has directed a number of programmes of archaeological, historical and architectural research on buildings and sites throughout the UK and Channel Islands. He has worked at cathedrals at Bristol, Wells, and Lichfield. He is Visiting Professor at the Department of Archaeology at the University of Reading
Jim Vincent started work at the Abbey in 1998 and became Clerk of the Works in 2005. He is a trained electrician and during his time at the abbey has installed a building management system which controls the heating in the Abbey and associated buildings as well as a computerised lighting system. He is currently upgrading the Abbey’s sound system.
Notes to Editors
1. Queen Elizabeth I formally created the Dean and Chapter as the corporate governing body of the Abbey in 1560. The Dean and four Canons together with other nominated members constitute the College. All College members have a form of freehold of tenure which together with their particular expertise enables it to sustain a supportive but independent perspective work of the Dean and Chapter.
2. In addition to the Dean, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, and Chapter, the current members of College are: High Steward, Lord Hurd of Westwell; Deputy High Steward, Lord Mayor of Westminster; High Bailiff, Sir Roy Strong; Deputy High Bailiff, Rear Admiral Kenneth Snow; Keeper of the Sanctuary, Eddie Smith; Receiver General and Chapter Clerk, Maj Gen David Burden; Registrar, Stuart Holmes; Auditor, David Hunt; Legal Secretary, Christopher Vyse; Librarian, Dr Tony Trowles; Keeper of the Muniments, Dr Richard Mortimer; Surveyor of the Fabric John Burton; Organist and Master of Choristers, James O’Donnell, Choir School Headmaster, Jonathan Milton, Westminster School Head Master, Dr Stephen Spurr; Westminster School Under Master Dr Gary Savage. Master of the Queen’s Scholars, Dr Frances Ramsey.