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New Precentor for Cathedral

by Michael Ford last modified 27 Feb, 2019 12:58 PM

The Bishop of Salisbury has appointed the Revd Anna Macham, at present a parish priest in Camberwell, as the new Canon Precentor at the Cathedral.

Revd Macham, who will hold the pivotal role of Head of Music and Liturgy at Salisbury Cathedral, has been appointed to a role that goes back to the very foundations of Christian worship in the city.

As the Cathedral Precentor, Revd Macham will oversee major services in the Cathedral attended by congregations of up to 1,700, as well as supervising day-to-day worship and acting as cantor, or lead singer during prayers.

Bishop Nicholas said:
“I am delighted with the appointment of Anna Macham as Precentor. She is an exceptionally able priest with skills and experience in a cathedral context and as a parish priest. She will be a great addition to the team, both at the Cathedral and in the Diocese.”

The Canon Precentor Designate, The Revd Anna Macham said:
“I am thrilled and delighted to be taking on this role and joining in the tradition of liturgical excellence that exists at Salisbury. I feel passionate about the ability of music and liturgy to draw all kinds of people into the life and worship of God, and it will be a privilege to work with musicians, clergy, Cathedral staff and congregation to develop such a special heritage into the next phase of its life. I’ve really enjoyed meeting and beginning to get to know people already, and can’t wait to start!

“As we prepare to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the city and Cathedral, this is a key time for reaching out to the wider community and I am looking forward to working with many others to build relationships and further the Cathedral's mission to make a difference for God.”

For many, taking on such a major role in a medieval Cathedral with a long and respected tradition of worship and music may seem daunting, but Anna has had prior experience. From 2010-2012 she acted as Precentor at Southwark Cathedral, during which time she organised national acts of worship including the Consecration of the Bishop, the Installation of the Dean, the Borough of Southwark’s Civic Service for Queen’s Jubilee, and one of three services marking the London 2012 Olympics, alongside Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Very Revd Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury said:
“Salisbury Cathedral has a proud tradition of exceptional music and exceptional worship. The Precentor’s role in overseeing and developing that tradition is absolutely pivotal. I am thrilled that Anna Macham has accepted the Bishop’s offer and will be joining us in May.

“Her previous experience in parish, Cathedral, and chaplaincy settings have equipped her really well for what I hope will be an exciting time in the Cathedral’s history, and she will bring huge gifts to our Chapter’s life in music, liturgy, theology, and teaching. I will be very pleased to welcome her as a colleague in ministry here as together we seek to make common ground of our beautiful sacred space.”

Anna found her calling at the age of 14 when she started singing in her local church choir, a vocation strengthened whilst a Choral Scholar at Trinity College, Oxford, where she studied English. Currently priest-in-charge of St Philip, Camberwell in South East London, she chairs the Bishop’s Advisory Group for Liturgy. Anna trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, receiving her MPhil in Christian Doctrine. Prior to that she was a youth worker in France and served her curacy at St Mary, Cheshunt, in St Alban’s Diocese.

For six years Anna undertook a dual role of Southwark Cathedral’s Succentor, or deputy Precentor, and chaplain at King’s College, London medical and dental schools. With two academic colleagues, she set up a Music and Medicine course option as part of the Year 4 Medical Degree Programme. She also helped to establish Guy’s Chapel Choir. A pianist and flautist, she became trustee of Royal School of Church Music in 2018 and strongly holds that music and belief walk hand-in-hand.

Her partner, Rachel, is an Associate Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Reading.

The Revd Anna Macham will be installed as Precentor during Evensong (4.30pm start) on Sunday 5 May. All are welcome to join the congregation to celebrate her arrival.

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