[Episcopal News Service] The chair of the Washington National Cathedral Chapter, the Rev. James P. Wind, announced Jan. 4 the appointment of the Rev. Francis H. Wade as interim dean of the cathedral. Wade has been called on a part-time basis to focus on spiritual guidance and support to the cathedral during its search and transition to a new dean. Canon Kathleen A. Cox, the cathedral’s executive director and chief operating officer, will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of the cathedral. Wade will take up his new position on Jan. 6, according to a press release.
It was also announced today that the Cathedral Chapter has selected Alexander H. Platt to chair the search committee for a new, permanent dean with the goal of calling that individual by the fall of 2012. The Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III stepped down as cathedral dean in September 2011 to return as priest-in-charge of Boston’s Trinity Church, Copley Square, where he had previously served as rector.
“It is a great honor to be entrusted with one of our nation’s most treasured institutions, and it is a joy to be able to do so here in a community I have been a part of for so long,” said Wade, in the release. “The cathedral plays a vital role in welcoming the country to pray, commemorate, celebrate, and mourn. As such, it must serve the millions of Americans of all faiths who turn to it in times of national significance just as ably as it does its local community and congregation.”
Wade, a native of West Virginia, has been an ordained Episcopal priest for 45 years, having served as rector of St. Alban’s Parish on the grounds of the cathedral from 1983 until his retirement in 2005. He is an adjunct professor at Virginia Theological Seminary, where he earned his M. Div. and D. Div. degrees, and he has also taught at The General Theological Seminary. He is the author of numerous books, including Transforming Scripture, and his sermons and writings have been published extensively, including in a variety of anthologies by Forward Movement Press. Wade is a noted leader in the Episcopal Church, having served in a variety of roles and committees at the church’s triennial General Convention for which he most recently served as chaplain of the 2009 gathering, the release said.
“Frank Wade’s long-standing reputation as a preacher and teacher brings experienced leadership to Washington National Cathedral during this time of transition,” said the Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of Washington, in the release. “He also is a gifted pastor, who will help bring together the cathedral community, other clergy, volunteer leadership, and staff to continue the cathedral’s mission as a spiritual home for the nation, embodying the Episcopal Church’s expansive and thoughtful understanding of God and passionate commitment to the reconciling ministry of Christ.”
Wade will work closely with Budde and Cox, as well as with the Rev. Canon Jan Naylor Cope, cathedral vicar. He will also work closely with the worship team in developing major services of national importance, as needed, lead cathedral worship, and preach regularly, the release said.
“On behalf of the Cathedral Chapter we are grateful to Frank Wade for accepting our nomination as interim dean,” said Wind. “We look forward to finding a new leader for the cathedral with the able guidance of Alix Platt while also benefitting from Frank’s stewardship and support.”
“The cathedral faces significant challenges going forward, and our next dean must be able to lead us as we work to restore the Cathedral physically while also continuing to expand our mission and programs,” said Cox. “This is an exciting new era for the Cathedral with many great possibilities ahead of us.”
According to the release, in addition to Platt, Craig M. McKee, Esq., will serve as vice-chair of the dean’s search committee. McKee is a Chapter member and co-chair of the National Cathedral Association. The other committee members are: John D. Barker, Chapter member; Llewellyn W. Bensfield, member of the Board of Trustees of the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation; Paul Cooney, canon to the ordinary of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; the Very Rev. Martha J. Horne, former dean of Virginia Theological Seminary; the Rev. Dr. Luis León, rector of St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square in Northwest D.C.; Dr. Eric L. Motley, Chapter member; Wind; and Dorothy M. Woodcock, Chapter member.