BENDIGO’S Anglican community will tonight welcome the Very Reverend John Roundhill as the new Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Mr Roundhill relocated from Queensland last week to take up his new role and will be installed as dean during a service at the church hall.
The reverend replaces dean Peta Sherlock who hung up her robes in December.
He is married, has two teenage children and boasts a passion for rollerblading.
Mr Roundhill has some grand plans but his number one priority is to reopen St Paul’s Cathedral.
The Anglican cathedral has been closed since 2009 due to concerns the roof could collapse and parishioners have been worshiping in the church hall.
“I guess it’s like the great elephant in the room,” Mr Roundhill said yesterday.
“Here am I coming down to be the dean of a closed cathedral.
“So I’d like to reopen it.
“And then to ensure that we fulfil our mission in reaching out to the whole community, to be a really inclusive church.”
Mr Roundhill said attracting people to the church was about working out who was missing.
“I’ve got to work out who it is that’s not around in the life of the church and to start a conversation with those people and to say, ‘What’s going on in your life?’,” he said.
“To ask them how this church can serve them. There’s a myth that people aren’t interested in the spiritual – people are.
“And almost everyone’s got a kind of story in their life where they can’t really explain what’s going on but it’s really powerful.”
Mr Roundhill once worked as a physics teacher but was ordained a priest in 1994.
“I was previously a rector of a church in Queensland and an archdeacon of a place called Lilley and that’s the area north of the Brisbane area,” he said.
Before that he lived in Hong Kong as the subdean of a cathedral. He has also worked in Scotland as a school chaplain.
“I lived in England as well where I started my priestly journey and before that I was a physics teacher in a country called Belize in Central America,” he said.
The reverend is already falling in love with Bendigo.
“It’s stunning,” he said. “It’s a really beautiful city.”