New Dean looks for ‘balance’ in life

thisisoxfordshire: The new dean the Rev Canon Professor Martyn William Percy The new dean the Rev Canon Professor Martyn William Percy

BALANCING the needs of education and personal faith are the priorities for the new Dean of Christ Church, Oxford’s “mother cathedral”.

The Queen has approved the Rev Canon Professor Martyn William Percy to take on the role from October.

He will be responsible for the academic performance of the Oxford University college, which recently featured in the Harry Potter films.

And he will also oversee its operation as a popular city Church of England cathedral.

The 51-year-old said: “It is one of the most extraordinary and I suppose unique roles not only in the Church of England but probably in the world.

“The cathedral is only part of the job, you have the business of being head of house at the same time.

“It is an enormous honour and privilege. It is very humbling for me to serve the house.”

The Blackburn-born Dean has been principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon for the past 10 years, which trains people for ministry.

He said of his new role: “The smooth running of that is right but we are interested in the colleges not just for their own sake but for the difference the individuals can make in the wider world.”

Former students include philosopher and physician John Locke, former Prime Ministers Sir Robert Peel and William Gladstone, poet W.H. Auden, broadcaster David Dimbleby and film director Richard Curtis.

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Rev Prof Percy said of his two roles: “They are over-lapping because, as in schools these days, there is talk about the spiritual wholeness of the person.

“It will be about the same hours, it is a long day, with prayer at the beginning and end.”

The father-of-two is married to theologian the Rev Dr Emma Percy, chaplain and Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford.

Christ Church has enjoyed a heightened profile since the Harry Potter series began in 2001, with The Great Hall doubling for Hogwart’s Hall.

The Bishop of Oxford, the Right Rev John Pritchard, said: “Martyn Percy is a very gifted and experienced priest who will hold together the various elements of this complex post elegantly and creatively.

“It’s very good to know we will have someone of his imagination and ability at the helm in the years ahead.”

He replaces the Very Rev Dr Christopher Andrew Lewis, 70, who has been at Christ Church College for the past 11 years.

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