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Philip Plyming appointed as new Dean of Durham

His Majesty The King has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Dr Philip Plyming as the next Dean of Durham.

Dr Plyming succeeds the Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, who was appointed Dean of St Paul’s in London last year, and has been Warden of Cranmer Hall, the theological college within St John’s College, Durham, since 2017.

Commenting on his appointment, Philip said: “I thank God for the honour of being appointed to be the next Dean of Durham. Since I first worshipped and prayed in the Cathedral when I was a student at Durham University, I have known it to be an incredibly special place where people are impressed by the beauty of the building and invited to encounter the living God.

“Inspired by the Christ-like example of St Cuthbert and the Northern saints, I look forward to leading the Cathedral’s life and mission in the years to come, so that in its worship and hospitality it continues to be a place of prayer, pilgrimage and proclamation. I also look forward to working with all the Chapter, staff and volunteers as together we live out the Cathedral’s historic vocation.”

Welcoming Philip as the next Dean, the Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler said: “I am delighted that Dr Philip Plyming is to be the new Dean of Durham. Philip brings pastoral, theological, leadership and missional gifts and experience to the role. Clearly he knows and loves the Cathedral and the Diocese very well already. I am excited at the leadership Philip will bring as the Cathedral moves forward in its mission and ministry, especially in relation to younger people and those on the margins of society.

Sue Snowdon, Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham, who chaired the interview panel, said: “I am delighted to welcome Dr Philip Plyming as Dean Designate of Durham. Philip’s personal and professional skills, experience, energy and enthusiastic approach will be of great value to the future development of Durham Cathedral, and I wish him well and every success in his appointment.”

Philip is married to Annabelle, who works as a palliative care consultant for a local NHS Trust, and they have two teenage sons. He enjoys speaking languages, travelling by train and watching cricket.

An installation service for Philip to formally become Dean will take place at Durham Cathedral at 3pm on 16 September.

Watch video of Philip here: 


After attending a local comprehensive school in Sussex, Philip studied German and Russian at Cambridge University followed by Theology at Durham University while training for ministry at Cranmer Hall. His PhD was awarded by Edinburgh University for research into Paul’s hardship narratives in 1 and 2 Corinthians, and his book Being Real: The Apostle Paul’s Hardship Narratives and The Stories We Tell Today is being published by SCM this autumn.

Philip served his curacy at Christ Church, Chineham, an ecumenical church in the Diocese of Winchester, and was ordained priest in 2002. During his curacy he led a team which ran a popular Youth Alpha course and planted a youth congregation.

In 2006, Philip was appointed Vicar of Claygate, in the Diocese of Guildford, a church which in 11 years grew from three to five Sunday congregations and also planted a further church nearby. From 2012 Philip additionally served as Area Dean of Emly, introducing a Deanery Growing Leaders course used by a range of churches.

In 2012, Philip led his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land and has since then taken parish and student groups to both Israel and Greece.

Philip was elected to the General Synod in 2009 and served until 2021, serving on a range of committees including the Simplification Task Group.

Philip was appointed to his current role as Warden of Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham, in 2017, where he teaches New Testament and Christian Leadership and also hosts the popular podcast Talking Theology. He was made an Honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral in 2022.

First published on: 16th June 2023
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