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We often need volunteers to join us in the governance of the Cathedral.


How is the Cathedral governed?

There are three principal bodies in the Cathedral’s governance structures:

  • the Council
  • the Chapter
  • the College of Canons

Specialist skills

Our sub-committees that have oversight of the work and mission aims and objectives of the Cathedral.

From time to time vacancies arise for individuals with particular skills including:

  • finance
  • care of the fabric of historic buildings - such as stone and wood
  • knowledge of collections management


Please email for more information.

We will advertise any opportunities on our main volunteering page.


What's involved with volunteering for the Cathedral Council or Chapter

Cathedral Council members

The Council consists of a Chair appointed by the Bishop, the Dean, two members of Chapter, two members of the College of Canons, a representative of Durham University, three members elected by the regular worshippers in the Cathedral community and up to a further seven people appointed to ensure that a good range of skills, experience and perspectives are available to aid the Council’s work.

The main roles of the Council are:

  • To review and advise the Chapter on all aspects of the Cathedral’s work and strategies, requesting reports on progress and providing a structure of accountability within the Cathedral;
  • To connect the Cathedral with the wider regional and ecumenical communities;
  • To carry out legal functions in relation to considering and receiving the Cathedral’s annual budget, annual report and audited accounts and agreeing any proposals to change the Cathedral Constitution and Statutes.

It meets two or three times a year, usually for a full weekday afternoon. Members often serve on other groups and committees in addition to the Council.


Chapter lay members

The Chapter is the Cathedral’s governing body and provides strategic leadership and direction. It reports to the Cathedral Council and the Church Commissioners. Chapter consists of the Dean, five Residentiary Canons and three Lay Members.  

Lay members are offered a non-remunerated, three year renewable appointment. By becoming a lay member, you can help shape the life of one of the North East’s greatest institutions.

Chapter members must be passionate about Durham Cathedral’s core purposes. These are to worship God, share the gospel of Jesus Christ, welcome all who come, celebrate and pass on our rich Christian heritage and discover our place in God’s creation.

You will need to attend:

  • monthly Chapter meetings, usually held on Tuesdays from 9.15am -3pm
  • three School Governors meetings and one residential meeting a year
  • additional meetings within your portfolio
  • other occasional meetings

Lay Members of Chapter must be communicant members of the Church of England or a church in full communion with it.