Hereford Cathedral has bid a digital farewell to The Very Revd Michael Tavinor, Dean of Hereford, after 19 years of leadership and ministry.

The Dean delivers his final sermon.

The Dean had originally planned to lead a series of farewell services on Sunday 31 January but, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, those plans were thwarted. Instead, the cathedral community and many around the county came together online on Sunday morning with a pre-recorded video service sharing memories of Michael’s time in Hereford. As well as messages of thanks from members of the cathedral community, the Archbishop of Canterbury sent his best wishes to the Dean via a special video message.

Cathedral Wardens Linda Hunter-Choat and Peter Harris thank the Dean on behalf of the congregation.

The Very Revd Michael Tavinor said: “It’s difficult for us all, parting at this really challenging time, but I think it’s important to look back together at all the good things of the last nineteen years. When we do so, we’ll recall events, projects, sadnesses and joys, and the cathedral community has been second to none in its faithfulness, encouragement, support and loving care throughout all of them.

“I shall never cease to be thankful for the friendship I have received from so many who have contributed to cathedral life, and have made my ministry as Dean so enjoyable and rewarding. I thank you all for your kindness and generosity. The cathedral and the city of Hereford will always have a special place in my heart and I shall be thinking of you and remembering you all in my prayers as you prepare for the next stage of your journey. God bless you all.”

The Bishop thanks the Dean for his ministry 

The Rt Revd Richard Jackson, Bishop of Hereford said: “After nearly two decades as the Dean of Hereford, it is with a heavy heart that Michael is retiring in the midst of another lockdown. It is of course very far from the ideal send-off that we had all hoped and prayed for - we hope to bid a more personal farewell in due course. Despite our short time together, I am very grateful for Michael’s wisdom, insight and the warm welcome he offered me on my arrival nearly 12 months ago.

“He has been a great influence on so many. I am deeply aware of the significant impact of his ministry on the lives of individuals and worshipping communities across the Diocese of Hereford. I wish him every blessing for a long and happy retirement.”

Michael’s gentle leadership has played an instrumental role overseeing many developments to the cathedral buildings during his time in Hereford, including the installation of the Thomas Traherne and Ascension stained glass windows, celebrating St Thomas Cantilupe and St Ethelbert with the restoration of two striking shrines, and the recent completion of the restored Eastern Cloisters, with their new attractions for visitors. As well as his own musical skill and love for the cathedral’s choral and organ music, Michael’s passion for pilgrimage has been shared widely throughout the community, and the warm welcome and hospitality that he has provided for all those who visit the cathedral will be sorely missed.

The celebration of the Dean’s farewell service is available to watch here.

Banner image: The Precentor & Chancellor present their gifts on behalf of Chapter