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New Appointment for the Reverend Canon Mark Oakley

We are pleased to announce that the Reverend Canon Mark Oakley, Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, has been named as the new Dean of Chapel at St John’s College, Cambridge. 

Canon Mark will oversee and manage the provision of services and the conduct of divine worship in the College Chapel, the activities of the choirs, and the pastoral care provided by the Chapel to resident members and staff of the College community. He will take up his position at St John’s College in September 2018. 

The Very Reverend David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s said: “Mark has made an enormous contribution to the life and work of St Paul's over the past eight years, both as Treasurer and as Chancellor. He has led and helped to develop the work of Schools and Families, Adult Learning, the St Paul's Institute and the Collections Department, to enable them to be at the heart of our mission, as well as making a huge contribution to our visual arts programme including the successful completion of the installation of the Bill Viola artworks. 

“He has also played a very important role in Chapter, helping us to think theologically about all that we do, and bringing wise counsel to our deliberations. And he has had a very significant wider role, taking St Paul's with him as he speaks, teaches and engages with others not only in London but around the country and beyond. He is someone who holds together erudition and integrity, seriousness and fun with a wealth of experience. We are deeply grateful for all he has given to us and we rejoice with him at this new opportunity for his ministry to grow, but we will miss him greatly.”

The Reverend Canon Mark Oakley said of his appointment: “I’ve really enjoyed my eight years at St Paul’s. Some people have said to me that I had the best job in the Church of England and some days it felt like it! It will be hard to say goodbye to so many good friends and colleagues. I’m looking forward to a new ministry at St John’s College and hope I’ll be able to take with me all the experience, support and fun I’ve enjoyed here.”

Canon Mark’s interest in literature, poetry and theology has brought great depth to his leadership of the Cathedral’s learning departments, and he will be remembered by many for his witty and thoughtful chairing of Cathedral public learning events and engaging preaching. As an active author he has also enjoyed success with his most recent book The Splash of Words: Believing in Poetry.

He is widely known for being a passionate campaigner for social justice and human rights and he received one of the first National Hate Crime Awards in 2016 for his work amongst minority groups. He is an ambassador for the charity Stop Hate UK as well as being  a Trustee of several bodies including Liberty, also known as the National Council for Civil Liberties. 


Canon Mark was educated in London and Oxford and ordained at St Paul’s in 1993. He served his curacy at St John’s Wood (1993-6), before becoming Chaplain to the Bishop of London (1996-2000) followed by Rector of St Paul’s, Covent Garden, also known as ‘the Actors’ Church’ (2000-2005). 

He then became Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe. Canon Oakley returned to London and Grosvenor Chapel, Mayfair, in 2008 before moving to St Paul’s initially as Canon Treasurer. He is also a Deputy Priest in Ordinary to HM The Queen and a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s College, London.