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A BEACON OF LIGHT
Farewell from the Dean of Newcastle
This article was written by the Very Revd Geoff Miller, Dean of Newcastle. It was first published in the November 2022 edition of Link, the monthly newspaper for the Diocese of Newcastle.
As many of you will know, I have announced that I will retire this month as Dean of Newcastle. It has been a real joy to play a part in the continuing story of the Diocese and, more latterly, the Cathedral, especially through its lottery-funded refurbishments.
With the passing of the Petertide ordinations this year, I began my 40th year in ordained ministry. For me, it has been a wonderful 40 years. Beginning in Jarrow in 1981, I have had the privilege to serve in the church across the North East of England: Billingham, South Shields, Stockton, Darlington followed and then Newcastle since 1999. And I have missed out a glorious year in France with the Mission Populaire d’Evangelique courtesy of the Leslie Hunter Trust.
Throughout that time, I have met so many people in so many rich and varied contexts. I have especially enjoyed my time in Newcastle Diocese, not least as Archdeacon of Northumberland and, more recently, sharing in the challenges and the development of the Cathedral. This has become my home and its people my joy to serve in the name of Christ, who calls us all his friends. Our dream for the Cathedral has been for it to take up its ancient role at the heart of the city – making sacred space common ground today!
Since reopening in July 2021, the building has hosted a huge range of Diocesan and civic events, concerts – even comedy nights, and, recently, a major service commemorating and giving thanks for the life of Her Late Majesty The Queen. Every day there are also the visitors (over 100,000 since reopening last summer) wandering around, escaping the rain, seeking solace and a coffee or a warm place to sleep.
Our passion is to offer radical welcome, inspiring worship and encounters that empower worth in each other. Even more important than the fabric of the building are the people who have found a home here; that is the incredible staff and volunteers, my talented clergy colleagues, and a vibrant, diverse congregation.
These are exciting and challenging times in the Church, and my prayers and good wishes will be with the Diocese as it prepares to welcome a new Bishop and, of course, with the Cathedral as it continues to enhance and enjoy its ministry in the region. Soon, I will have a new way of being to explore, with new possibilities of service and delight. I am trying to see it all as a new adventure.
Some of you will know that my health has not been so good during the last year, though thankfully, it is now much better – stents are remarkable things! I am a reluctant pensioner, though, for my wife’s sake, hopefully not a grumpy one!
I will miss so much this wonderful Diocese with wonderful people at its heart. I will take much away with me to treasure, but perhaps there will be new configurations, new learning, and new development for me too.
I hope you will have a little smile when you remember the old Archdeacon and sometime Dean. I know that there will be plenty of smiles among my memories of the last years. But now I head into my next (hopefully calmer) adventure, G&T in hand. God has been good to me, and I pray that you, my friends and colleagues, will continue to be blessed by his wide and bountiful grace.
A Service of Leave Taking and Farewell
Sunday 20 November, 4pm
All are welcome to attend this Service of Leave Taking and Farewell for the Very Revd Geoff Miller, Dean of Newcastle. There is no need to RSVP, but we recommend arriving in good time to find a seat.
If you would like to give towards Geoff’s collection, please email firstname.lastname@example.org