The Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, has appointed The Revd Dr Mark Oakley as the next Dean of Southwark. Mark is currently Dean of Chapel and Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge.
Bishop Christopher said: “Mark is a person of depth, insight and integrity who brings with him a wealth of priestly experience offered in many different contexts. Before St John’s he was a Canon of St Paul’s following on from service in the Diocese in Europe as Chaplain at Copenhagen and Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe. This variety of experience will equip him well for the prominent role he will now take on as Dean of Southwark and I much look forward to working with him.”
Mark will be installed Dean at Choral Evensong in Southwark Cathedral on Advent Sunday (3 December) at 3pm.
Speaking about his appointment, Mark said: “I am very honoured, and a little daunted, to be asked to continue the ministry of the Dean of Southwark, following on from the extraordinary work and presence of Andrew Nunn. I have been grateful all my life for the existence of Southwark Cathedral, for its witness to the gospel through learning and formation, arts and the imagination, local partnerships and a commitment to social justice. I am now deeply grateful to be asked to become a part of its life and mission, and I ask for your prayers as I prepare to join the people of the cathedral and diocese. Our vocation is to embody a sacramental, poetic and just Christian faith that resonates with both joy and integrity. I really look forward to making new friends as we seek to do this together.’
“I am delighted that Mark has been appointed as Dean of Southwark,” added the Revd Canon Michael Rawson, Interim Dean of Southwark Cathedral. “He brings theological reflection alive in his preaching and writing. We look forward to worshipping and working with Mark as the Cathedral enters a new and exciting phase of our life together, in deepening our faith and reaching out in service of our parish and diocese.”
Heather Hancock, Master of St John’s College, University of Cambridge, said: “Mark Oakley has made a memorable and distinguished contribution to St John’s College during his time as Dean. Our Chapel has been a place of outstanding worship and preaching under Mark’s imaginative, sensitive, and grounded leadership, offering warmth and welcome to all. His commitment to the spiritual and collegiate life of St John’s, including through outreach, tutorial support and his sustained contribution through the pandemic, has been superb. Southwark Cathedral are fortunate to be welcoming Mark as their Dean when he leaves St John’s later this year; he will go with our gratitude and very best wishes.”
More about Mark:
Mark was ordained at St Paul’s cathedral in 1993 and served his curacy at St John’s Wood Church in London Diocese. He was later appointed Chaplain to the Bishop of London and after four years was made Rector of the Actors’ Church in Covent Garden. He has subsequently served as an archdeacon in the Diocese in Europe, Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral and is currently Dean of St John’s College, Cambridge.
Mark holds a PhD in English Literature and is an admired author of several books on poetry and spirituality. He is well known as a speaker and preacher and has been awarded both the Michael Ramsey Prize for theological writing and the Lanfranc award by the Archbishop of Canterbury, for education and scholarship.
Mark has a strong commitment to human rights and has served on the board of Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust, as well as being awarded one of the first ‘Upstander’ awards for his work with hate crime victims. In 2021, King’s College London awarded Mark a Fellowship in recognition of his ‘exceptional service and achievement’. It is the most prestigious award the university can give. He shares his life in a Civil Partnership with Nicholas.