DESPITE being more used to giving sermons in exotic locations across the globe, the new Dean of Monmouth and Newport Cathedral sees coming to Newport as the start of a great adventure.

Born and raised in Lancashire, the Reverend Lister Tonge has an international reputation as someone who can help people and communities develop their spiritual life, having worked everywhere from South Africa and New Zealand to Belgium and Iceland.

Currently based in Oxford, where he is chaplain to a convent of nuns at the Community of St John Baptist, he says he is very much looking forward to having a permanent place to call home after years of travelling.

He said: “I am an urban animal and shall enjoy getting to know Newport – I already know parts of the county and look forward to getting to know it better.”

“It’s quite an adventure.”

Father Lister, 60, trained for priesthood at King’s College London and St Augustine’s College, Canterbury, before moving to Liverpool Parish Church in 1975, where he worked in downtown areas and with businesses.

In 1978, he moved to Johannesburg Cathedral, where he was responsible for all aspects of cathedral ministry during the apartheid, where Desmond Tutu was an almost-daily worshipper.

He returned to the UK in 1979, to join the Community of the Resurrection for 12 years, before taking on the role of spiritual adviser at the Houses of Parliament in the mid 1990s to 2005.

He has worked in dioceses in England, Wales, America, the West Indies, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Finland and France and has been a senior bishops’ selector for those seeking ordination in the Church of England.

He is a Master of pastoral studies and has a certificate in spirituality studies from Loyola University, Chicago, and a post-graduate qualification in counselling from Manchester University.

In his spare time, he enjoys travelling, art, architecture and has recently taken up gardening.

Announcing his appointment on Friday, Bishop Dominic Walker said he was sure Fr Lister’s spiritual and pastoral gifts will be of great benefit to the cathedral, the diocese, and the city community.

He will be officially installed at Newport Cathedral on March 31.

The previous Dean of Monmouth, the Very Revd Jeremy Winston, died in November, less than three months after he took over at the cathedral.