There was no thunder or lightning, no fire or flood, as the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull was installed as Dean of York and its Minster on 1st December 2012. Merely the dignified and colourful procession of dozens of clergy, fellow-deans, and bishops, come to support her as the first female Dean in the Province of York. There was glorious singing, archaic and regal words, and warm welcomes from local and wider communities. There was an episcopal tussle over the bones of Richard lll as the Bishop of Leicester formally handed her over from his charge to the charge of the Archbishop of York. And there was great, great joy.

The Archbishop asked the Dean to stand (always unpredictable – what was he about to do next?). Then he asked all women who serve the Church, whether ordained or lay, to stand, and receive the applause and affirmation of the congregation for their commitment.

The new Dean said this was ‘a good day for the Church of England – better than some of late’ and was applauded. She gave warm thanks to the Sub-Dean for his tireless work in carrying the Minster through another interregnum. It seemed exciting and novel to hear a woman’s voice as leader of the Minster community, but also entirely natural and welcome. She blessed us, and even those with mitres bowed before her to receive God’s grace.