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UK News

Christ Church Oxford appoints first female dean

by Sophie Drew

For the first time in it’s 500-year history, Christ Church, Oxford, has appointed a woman as it’s dean.

The appointment has been approved by the King, and Rev Canon Professor Sarah Foot will assume the role in July 2023.

Professor Foot is a Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Oxford University and currently serves as a Residentiary Canon at Christ Church.

She is well-placed for a role as Christ Church’s first female dean; Her research focuses on women in religion, medieval monasticism, and the early history of the English Church.

Christ Church has been under the authority of Prof Foot, in her current role, ever since the departure of Professor Martyn Percy, with whom the Diocese of Oxford became embroiled in a four-year dispute regarding alleged safeguarding failures.

Currently, an independent review of the Christ Church governance is underway, chaired by Dominic Grieve KC.

Once the review is complete, Professor Foot intends to stand down to allow for a new leader, and a clean slate.

Speaking on the appointment, Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford said: "I am delighted to welcome Sarah’s appointment as Dean of Christ Church in this key period in the life of the College and the Cathedral following her long tenure as one of our four Canon Professors in the Cathedral.

“Sarah combines a distinguished career as an historian, a deep personal faith and reservoirs of wisdom with her leadership experience of Christ Church in recent months.

“I look forward very much to working in partnership with Sarah in the coming years in the implementation of the governance review and as a member of the senior leadership team here in the Diocese of Oxford.”

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