The Bishop of Portsmouth has announced that the new Dean of Portsmouth will be Canon Dr Anthony Cane, currently Chancellor at Chichester Cathedral.
Anthony, 57, has served in Chichester since 2007 and has led a transformation of its work in the areas of education, the arts, visitor engagement, and external partnerships. During his varied career, he has worked with the homeless and drug addicts and served the Church along the south coast – in Brighton and Torquay, as well as Chichester.
His priorities as the new Dean of Portsmouth – the most senior cleric at our cathedral – will include securing its long-term sustainability, developing congregation numbers and sharpening its strategic focus.
He said: “I am thrilled to be joining the cathedral and diocese as Dean of Portsmouth. What a privilege to have the chance to live and pray at the heart of a vibrant, diverse city and diocese.
“I look forward to working closely with the bishop, cathedral staff, worshipping community and volunteers, in furthering the ministry of the cathedral as a sign of God’s deep compassion and grace for every corner of the city and diocese. While there are challenges to face, the cathedral is well placed to go from strength to strength, and I am excited to be arriving at this point in its history.”
The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, said: “I am looking forward to welcoming Anthony, with Clare, to our diocese and the cathedral. He is well equipped to lead the development of its ministry in the parish, the city and for the diocese, building on the many strengths of its congregation and staff.”
And the Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Rev Martin Warner, said: “Anthony Cane is one of the most imaginative theological communicators in the Diocese of Chichester. He brings an enquiring mind to a praying heart and relates them to his experience of the world around him.
“Anthony will be greatly missed by the cathedral congregation and community in Chichester. We are delighted that he is moving to our neighbouring diocese of Portsmouth and we assure him, and his wife, Clare, of our prayers and very best wishes for the future.”
Although his parents are from Kent, Anthony was born and raised in Cape Town until he was 20 and studied at the university there for his first degree. He left college an atheist, and his journey to faith started when he met the woman who would become his wife, Clare, and accompanied her to church.
He worked in three different jobs in London, on the frontline of engagement with vulnerable people – working with homeless people in Vauxhall, a centre for former drug addicts in Earl’s Court, and a church community project on the Kings Road.
After ordination training at Westcott House, Cambridge, he served a curacy in Birmingham, then spent six years as senior chaplain at the multi-campus University of Brighton. He combined parish and diocesan jobs in the Diocese of Exeter, and was then adult education officer in Chichester diocese, developing courses for parishes, training Readers, and designing and running a new programme for curates.
As Chancellor of Chichester Cathedral, he has delivered an acclaimed annual series of public lectures, introduced five series of films with spiritual themes in a local cinema, and been a founder member of three charities. He has served as a governor of the University of Chichester, chaired the Diocese of Chichester Academy Trust from its inception, and initiated a ‘Night Cathedral’ event for students.
“Working with homeless people and former drug addicts was a formative experience, not least because my faith was developing at the time,” he said. “Both because of this, and the fact that I was an atheist until my early twenties, I have a strong sense for those on the fringes of church. In Chichester, we worked in partnership with a homeless charity and hosted a sleep-out to raise awareness.”
“I enjoy cathedral worship and pastoral care, and I have experience of helping people into deeper discipleship. But I think it’s important to be outward-facing too.”
“I’m always very happy to work in partnership with other organisations, and sometimes the best ideas come organically through working with others. Cathedrals are well placed to be creative and put on events you might not imagine them hosting. I intend to be out and about in Portsmouth, looking for opportunities to build partnerships.”
The Dean of Chichester, the Very Rev Stephen Waine – the senior cleric at Chichester Cathedral – said: “Chichester Cathedral has benefitted greatly from Anthony Cane’s ministry as Canon Chancellor. His gift for theological enquiry has enriched our life, and his joyful capacity for hard work and his enthusiasm for the cathedral’s ministry in Chichester and throughout the diocese have been much appreciated. “Anthony and Clare will be missed by the cathedral community. We are pleased that they are moving ‘next door’ and we wish them well and assure them of our prayers for their move and for ministry in the Cathedral, City and Diocese of Portsmouth.”
And Canon Peter Leonard, acting dean of Portsmouth Cathedral, said: “We are delighted that Anthony is joining us as Dean and are very much looking forward to welcoming him to Portsmouth.
“Anthony brings expertise, experience and enthusiasm, all of which means the next chapter in the story of Portsmouth Cathedral will be an exciting one where we continue to see the cathedral community and the Kingdom of God grow.”
Anthony is married to Clare, a teacher, and they have three grown-up children. He will be installed as Dean at a cathedral service on Saturday 16 March. He succeeds the Very Rev David Brindley, who retired in the summer.