​Archbishop Philip Freier, Dr Katherine Firth and Dean
of St Paul's, Dr Andreas Loewe

​The new Dean of Melbourne, the Revd Dr Andreas Loewe, has pledged to open up St Paul’s Cathedral as a place where all people can share in learning about God and His love.

Dr Loewe was preaching at his installation as the 15th Dean in the 165-year history of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, and, at 39, the second youngest person to occupy the post. Dr Loewe recently met the Revd Dr Stuart Barton Babbage, who was 37 when he became Dean in 1953 – having previously served as Dean of St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney.

Archbishop Philip Freier installed Dr Loewe during Choral Evensong in the Cathedral attended by more than 400 people on 13 October, the Feast of St Edward the Confessor, the Anglo-Saxon King of England from 1042-66 who rebuilt Westminster Abbey and who is buried there.

“I am delighted to come to you as your new Dean and to be able to serve a Cathedral where the sign of the life-changing love of God stands at the heart of our life,” Dr Loewe said. “I look forward to sharing with you in exploring what it may mean for us as a Cathedral community and a diocese to go on living by the life that God has given us first.
“Many of you have written to me and assured me of your prayers: thank you for praying for me, and for our Cathedral.
Please continue to remember us in your prayers. Some of you have reminded me of the challenges of ministering in this place. Many more have pointed to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. Some of you have shared your dreams for our Cathedral to be a place where Anglicans from all kinds of backgrounds—whether Australian-born or not, whether evangelical or catholic—can celebrate their sense of belonging to one another; and where Christians and those who have yet to come to faith, can both share in learning about God and his love for us. I commit myself to working with you to help bring about that hope.

May this be a place where we can learn from one another’s challenges; where we can help one another to identify and grasp new opportunities; where we can celebrate the unity and peace we were granted through the cross – a unity that is rooted in the love that, as our epistle reminds us, is ‘perfected in us whenever we love one another’. A love that can show others how ‘God abides in us and we in him’. A love that can show others how lives can be transformed through Christ.”

Dr Loewe – who was born in Germany, studied and was ordained a priest in England and until recently was Senior Chaplain of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne – alluded to the golden mosaic above the High Altar at St Paul’s depicting the crucifixion of Jesus.

“Those who built our magnificent Cathedral placed the sign of their certainty above the High Altar, pointing to Christ the living bread of heaven in the hope that future generations, like them, might also place it at the heart of their faith,” he said.

Dr Loewe cited four people in whom he had seen the transformational love of God at work – the single mother from a Slough housing estate in England who, despite leaving school at 16, completed a theological degree to respond to God’s call in her life to serve as a parish priest in the north of England; the immigration judge from Cambridge who dedicated himself to support asylum seekers forced to leave their homelands because of their faith in Jesus; the businessman who established the Emmaus Communities UK to provide places where disabled and homeless people could find home, companionship and work; and the under-18 Australian rower who was baptised and confirmed at Trinity College and who now served the homeless at the Lazarus Centre and dreamt of establishing a new rowing club to give young disabled and homeless people a sense of adventure and achievement.

“In seeing others respond to God’s call for them in this way, I have myself come to know that it is true that when we show forth God’s love to others we share in God’s life; and how this is especially true when we offer ourselves to serve others for God’s sake,” Dr Loewe said.

“I give thanks for the many generations of those who, in our Cathedral, have discovered for themselves the truth of the mystery at the heart of our epistle: that God, the creator of all, seeks to dwell in our hearts through Jesus Christ. I give thanks for the faithful leaders who in this place have brought many to that faith, and for all those who through their acts of service continue to make known that life-changing love here in the heart of Melbourne.

“If you are not yet a Christian, I would invite you to come and join with us in exploring the teachings of Jesus Christ as we pray, study the Scriptures and worship together at St Paul’s Cathedral. And if you are already a Christian and are thinking about how you might live out your faith through ministry and service, then I invite you to join us as we reflect together on the ways in which you might be able to show forth the love of God in the places in which you live, work and worship. And if you already are a colleague in ministry, I invite you to join me in bringing about the dream that so many of you wrote about: the dream of finding new ways in which we might work together in bringing others to the joyful and life-giving truth that we own.”

Dr Loewe’s wife, Dr Katherine Firth, was a key participant in the service by reading the Second Lesson from the First Letter of St John and by writing the fourth verse of the introit hymn, which was used for a joint service Archbishop Freier and Dr Loewe led at Westminster Abbey on 12 July 2010 to mark Australian Saints. Dr Firth, whose parents Len and Jill are both priests in the Melbourne diocese, is an Examining Chaplain for the diocese and an Academic Skills Adviser at the University of Melbourne.

The new Dean received greetings from an Indigenous resident student of Trinity College, Ms Ngaree Jannali Blow; members of the Cathedral Chapter, staff and congregation Lay Canon Sally Petty and Ms Katharine Kozlowski; the Revd Tony Tang from the Chinese Mission of the Epiphany; the Dean of Perth, the Very Revd Dr John Shepherd, on behalf of the Australian cathedral deans; the Chancellor of Melbourne University, Ms Elizabeth Alexander; a representative of city-centre churches, the Revd James Barr; and representatives from diocesan candidates for ordination, Ms Emily Fraser, Ms Sandy Solomon and Ms Silvia Syf.

Refreshments were served in the Cathedral Narthex after the 80-minute service.

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