THE Reverend Canon Rosalind Brown, Durham Cathedral’s first ever female Residentiary Canon, has retired.

Canon Brown, who began her working life as a town planner in the south of England, has been at Durham Cathedral for 13 years, was formally dismissed from the Cathedral Chapter at Evensong on Sunday.

She said: “It has been a fantastic 13 years. It is extraordinary to look back on it and to think that I was the first female Canon here – now it women in the church are the norm now.”

After a short career in town planning, Canon Brown moved to the US where she was a member of a Benedictine community living in a former steel town in the Pennsylvania Rust Belt. After three years at Yale Divinity School she was ordained and served in parish ministry in the US before returning to the UK in 1999 and for six years trained people for ordination in Salisbury. She came to Durham in 2005 and was the cathedral’s first ever female Residentiary Canon.

Canon Brown has been responsible for the ministry to the Cathedral Community and all who visit. As Canon librarian, she has overseen the cathedral’s extensive collections of artefacts, manuscripts and books and has also led on a number of the cathedral’s external relationships including regular meetings with Durham County Council and chairing the Durham World Heritage Site Management Committee.

She said: “It has been a joy and privilege to serve at Durham Cathedral, an opportunity I never dreamed would be mine. The work has been so varied both in the cathedral and in the city, including the World Heritage Site. I am looking forward to retirement and its new opportunities, but will miss the wonder of the cathedral and its community immensely.”

Canon Brown cites highlights of her time as the celebrations of the 600th anniversary of the Chorister School, the annual Miners’ Festival Service, Open Treasure project and the annual Advent procession. “Another highlight has been the stories of how people have been touched by the cathedral. Every day people go into the cathedral and have their lives changed in some way,” said Canon Brown.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham said: “Rosalind’s insight and deep Christian faith has had a huge impact. She will be missed by the cathedral congregation who hold her in high regard and affection.”