John Hall retires as Dean of Westminster

Friday, 1st November 2019

John Hall retires as Dean of Westminster

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall has retired after 13 years as Dean of Westminster.

He presided at a valedictory Eucharist on Friday 1st November, All Saints Day, and preached his final sermon.

The Dean, who was installed as the 38th Dean of Westminster on 2nd December 2006, oversaw the spiritual life of the Collegiate Church of St Peter Westminster, better known as Westminster Abbey, and gave leadership to the Abbey community, which includes 300 staff and 500 volunteers.

Since the Abbey is a Royal Peculiar, the Dean was responsible to the Sovereign alone. On Wednesday at his farewell audience Her Majesty The Queen presented him with the award of Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.

During his time as Dean, Dr Hall has led a number of major services including the wedding of HRH Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton in April 2011.

Amongst other heads of state, the Dean welcomed two Presidents of the United States of America to lay wreaths at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior – President Obama in May 2011 and President Trump in June this year.

The Dean also welcomed His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to a Service of Evening Prayer at the Abbey in September 2010.

The Dean has also initiated an ambitious development programme at the Abbey embracing the establishment of an education centre at No1 Deans Yard, the fitting-out of the new Cellarium restaurant in the medieval undercroft next to the Cloisters and, the construction of the Weston Tower in Poets' Corner yard to provide access to the new Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries in the triforium of the Abbey church.

As Dean of Westminster he also chaired the governing body of Westminster School and Westminster Abbey Choir School as well as governors of Harris Westminster Sixth Form, a free school opened in Westminster in September 2014.

Transcript: Sermon given at All Saints’ Day 2019

Audio recording (on an external website): Sermon given at All Saints’ Day 2019