A new Canon Precentor for York Minster


Head and shoulders of a bearded man dressed in clerical clothes

The Chapter of York today announced that the Archbishop of York has appointed The Reverend Canon James Milne, currently Canon Precentor at St Paul’s Cathedral, as the new Canon Precentor at York Minster. James succeeds The Reverend Canon Dr Victoria Johnson who is to become Dean of Chapel at St John’s College, Cambridge.

At York Minster, James will lead and oversee the cathedral’s Music and Liturgy Team. He will enable the planning and delivery of worship and music day-to-day, supporting the work of the Director of Music, the 48 choristers (24 boys and 24 girls) and 12 adult singers of the world-renowned Choir of York Minster. As a Residentiary Canon of the cathedral, James will also share in its governance and in the overall responsibility for its mission and ministry.

Commenting on his appointment, James said:
“I am deeply honoured to have been appointed Canon Precentor of York Minster and I am greatly looking forward to joining a dynamic community of faith and worship in such a beautiful setting, and to being part of the next chapter in the life of the Cathedral. Having grown up in Edinburgh I am excited to be moving to another historic city within the United Kingdom, which I have greatly enjoyed visiting over the years.” 

Welcoming James to York Minster, The Very Reverend Dominic Barrington, Dean of York, said:

“We are very fortunate to be able to welcome James to York Minster as our new Canon Precentor. James has already had a distinguished ministry in cathedral worship in one of the country’s busiest cathedrals, and we are excited that he will bring the fruits of this experience to the Mother Church of the Diocese of York and the Northern Province of the Church of England. I am much looking forward to working with James during this next phase of the Minster’s life.”

James will be collated and installed in his new role during Evensong on Saturday 18 May by the Archbishop of York and the Dean of York.

Biographical details – The Reverend Canon James Milne

James was born in Edinburgh and was a chorister at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral. Having studied at the universities of Wales and Edinburgh, he was ordained in 1998 to serve as Assistant Curate of St Mary Magdalene’s, Dundee. In 2001 he was appointed Rector of St Margaret’s, Lochee and a Chaplain for NHS Tayside. Prior to St Paul’s he served as Rector of St Bride’s, Glasgow and Convenor of the Diocesan Development Team for Liturgy and Worship. He also served on the Liturgy Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church, latterly as Convenor. James was appointed Sacrist at St Paul’s in 2015 and Precentor in 2019. He was responsible both for The National Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen and the Service of Prayer and Reflection following her death. He is an Honorary Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee.

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