Jane Shaw named Dean of Grace Cathedral

Breaking From the Grace, San Francisco website:

The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of California, and the Grace Cathedral Board of Trustees announced today the appointment of the Rev. Canon Dr. Jane Alison Shaw as the cathedral’s next dean.

The trustees enthusiastically voted to approve her nomination by unanimous role call vote at a special board meeting on June 25.

“Jane Shaw’s spiritual depth, commitment to the Gospel, theological vision and leadership skills make her uniquely qualified to help guide Grace Cathedral into its second century,” said the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus. “In her, we have found an individual who understands both the gifts and challenges of the cathedral, and one who will be able to reinforce Grace Cathedral’s mission and ministry to the congregation and to the community.”

“I am greatly honored by Bishop Marc and the leadership of Grace Cathedral’s vote of confidence to name me its next dean,” said Shaw. “A cathedral’s dean is asked to stand at the nexus of many worlds, including the cathedral congregation, the chapter and staff, the board, the diocese, the city and more. I look forward to interacting with and communicating between these different worlds. My vision is of a church that engages deeply with the culture and the world in which it finds itself. I greatly look forward to working in the Episcopal Church with which I have long had a deep connection. It will be a privilege to work in this vibrant branch of the Anglican Communion.”

Shaw joins Grace Cathedral from the University of Oxford in England where she has served as the Dean of Divinity and a Fellow of New College, Oxford. In addition, she has taught history and theology at the university for 16 years; she has been at New College for nine years.

Serving with distinction as a priest, academic theologian and historian, she brings powerful preaching and deep expertise in liturgy, management and administration, program development, teaching, community building and fund-raising.

Shaw is known internationally for her exceptional talents in the communication of Christianity in the public sphere. In Great Britain, she has been successful in bridging differences in governance and policies pertaining to inclusion, and has served as Theological Consultant to the Church of England House of Bishops. She is Canon Theologian at Salisbury Cathedral and an honorary canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford.

This appointment is the result of an 18-month global search by the Dean Search Committee, a group of 17 cathedral and diocesan thought leaders, led by chair Valerie Crane Dorfman and co-chair Tobias Keller. Crane Dorfman and Keller are both cathedral trustees and members of the congregation.

“The thorough, 18-month discernment process, which asked, ‘Who will be our next dean?’ led us to meet many talented candidates while at the same time carefully discerning the goals and vision of Grace Cathedral,” said Greg Scott, chair of the cathedral’s Board of Trustees. “Through very careful discernment of an excellent candidate pool, we recognized that Jane Shaw was the right fit for us.”

Residing in the U.S. isn’t entirely new for Shaw. Since the late 1980s, she has studied or held academic positions at several United States institutions of higher education. She earned a Master’s of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in 1988 and a Ph.D. in History from the University of California at Berkeley in 1994. In 2006, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by Episcopal Divinity School. In the 1990s, she taught at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, the Episcopal seminary in Berkeley, Calif. Shaw has been a Visiting Professor at U.C. Berkeley, Emory University and Florida Atlantic University.

Grace Cathedral is currently being led by the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, formerly the 12th Bishop of Virginia. Bishop Lee has been Grace Cathedral’s interim dean since October 2009. The cathedral’s seventh dean, the Very Rev. Alan Jones, retired in February 2009 after serving the cathedral for 25 years.

Shaw’s appointment comes a century after the installation of the Grace Cathedral’s first dean, the Very Rev. James Wilmer Gresham, who served the cathedral for almost three decades, from 1910 to 1939.

Her CV listed on the web site for New College, Oxford University states:

Jane Shaw has a been a Fellow of New College since 2001. In her capacity as Dean of Divinity and Chaplain of the college, she runs the chapel, heads up the college welfare and pastoral team with the Home Bursar, and works with the New College School. In the university, she is Reader in Church History, lectures on 19th-century Christian thought and practice, and directs a research project on modern prophecy movements. Her publications include Miracles in Enlightenment England (Yale UP 2006). She is also an honorary canon of Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford and Canon Theologian of Salisbury Cathedral.

In 2007, Shaw wrote an op-ed for The Guardiansaying that the fact of our baptisms precludes the need for an Anglican Covenant.

There is much talk at present in the Anglican communion of a new covenant to bind us together. This is seen as a solution to our problems, to our disagreements about homosexuality. Some argue that we just need to agree to certain new “essentials”. But many of us hesitate to embrace such a covenant because we already have a covenant: our baptismal covenant. That is how we are joined together and it is based on the long-established “essentials”: the historic creeds. From the very earliest days of Christianity, baptism marked that moment when men and women assented to the Christian essentials – one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and came into relationship with those who shared this belief in the creator God, the risen Christ and the Spirit who sustains us daily. Baptism is therefore the foundation of our identity as Christians. With Paul’s words to the Galatians in our memories, we hesitate to assent to a covenant in which there will be a new distinction between lay and ordained by handing over decision-making power to the Anglican primates. Having made our assent to the historic creeds, we hesitate to create new “essentials” about an issue – homosexuality – that may be purely of this moment.

Let me suggest another response to the Anglican crisis. All we really have to do in the midst of this crazy church dispute is be awake to our relationship with a loving God. And to do that, warring Anglicans simply have to recall their baptism: that moment when the waters washed over us and the heavens echoed with God’s declaration about each of us – you are my beloved son, my beloved daughter, with you I am well pleased. If we remember that, really remember it, disputes might “wither like the grass and fade like the flowers” as Isaiah puts it, as we are bathed in the knowledge of God’s love for each and every one of us.

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