The Very Revd Christine Wilson will retire after preaching her last service, marking 26 years of ordained ministry.
In May 2016, she was installed as the Dean of Lincoln – the first woman to hold the title – and she will retire after the service of solemn evensong for Candlemas on Thursday, February 2.
She has particularly grown to love the restorative properties of choral evensong and is already planning where she will seek out the experience during her retirement.
Having experienced, in her own words, “a strong sense of calling that wouldn’t go away”, Christine was ordained in 1997 in Chichester Diocese.
Public opinion was still very polarised on the ordination of female priests – the first having taken place only three years earlier – but the challenges and obstacles she faced only served to strengthen her sense of vocation.
In 2010, Christine became the first female Archdeacon of Chesterfield in the Diocese of Derby, during which time she developed and implemented a reorganisation of the Deaneries,
to ensure future sustainability.
Jasmit Kaur Phull JP, Sheriff of Lincoln, recalls attending the event in 2016 where Christine was appointed as Dean of Lincoln. She said: “I was so proud of our new Dean Christine, a woman of courage and humility who formed a bond of friendship on the first day we met at the Cathedral.
“Her remarkable qualities of kindness and strength touched our hearts and we shall always treasure Dean Christine’s friendship.
“Her massive contribution to Lincoln Cathedral and the community in Lincoln will be remembered for many years to come and we thank her for support to all faiths.
“We know that strong women aren’t simply born, they are made by the storms they walk through. We know that Dean Christine can handle anything that comes her way, making the sun shine even on the darkest day. A true legend whom we will never forget.
“Today a tear in each eye represents a tear of joy – for Dean Christine’s friendship – and tear of sadness for she will be missed more than words can express.”
Tim Strawson, High Sheriff of Lincolnshire said, “Christine is a great asset to Lincoln Cathedral. She has been business-like and efficient, executing positive changes and procedures and I am sure leaves the Cathedral in a much better place.
“But on a personal basis I really admire Christine’s ability to make people feel so welcome and at home in the Cathedral. She has always delivered her sermons and speeches eloquently, in a relaxed, warm and compassionate manner. I will be very sorry to see her go.”
One of the most recent projects that Dean Christine has helped to bring to fruition at the Cathedral has been the dedication of the Emergency Services Chapel in late 2022.
The only chapel of its kind in the country dedicated to Police, Fire and Rescue, Ambulance Service and NHS – it recognises the dedication of all key workers during the covid pandemic and beyond.
The Right Revd Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely, Acting Bishop of Lincoln wrote an open letter to mark the Dean’s retirement.
In it he said: “I have had the privilege to participate in celebrations of the Eucharist and in the Divine Office where Dean Christine has presided, led prayers or preached. I have been struck by her grace, recollection and focus. She has modelled spiritual leadership of the community.”
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