I have no idea why it has taken so long to publicly announce what has been a piece of "good news" clergy gossip for weeks now, that Digby Wilkinson will be the next Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, Wellington. But now, at last, the announcement has been made, via this article on Taonga.
As you will read there, this appointment is in keeping with the expectation that under Bishop Justin, life in the Wellington Diocese will take new, bold, and radical directions.
Digby is an Anglican priest who (as I understand things) has been performing licensed ministry in the Wellington Diocese, regularly presiding at 8 am communion in a Palmerston North parish church. So far nothing bold, radical or new about appointing him to be Dean.
But his current stipended ministry role has been as Senior Pastor of Palmerston North Central Baptist church. That more than hints something new, bold and radical about this appointment.
Is it a new = unprecedented thing for the whole history of the Anglican Communion for a Baptist pastor to become Dean of a cathedral in his next appointment?
Digby's appointment is bold because it means the Cathedral and Diocese has been willing to look outside the normal field of candidacy for such positions (i.e. currently stipended Anglican priests doing a sterling job in an Anglican context).
It is early days to predict that it will prove to be a radical appointment, but his background suggests that he will come into the role with eyes that will see clearly what the fundamental mission and ministry of a cathedral is, and work to reinvigorate that.
Watch this space!
Postscript: I have felt no need to comment on what could be diplomatically described as Digby's 'colourful past', but I now note that the media have risen to the bait. NZ Herald's headline is, "Convicted Burglar to Lead Church". Sometimes the media conform to stereotype!
Later: a more responsible headline is in the Dominion story: 'Grace and disgrace' led to new dean's rebirth.