Canon Mark Oakley

Dean and Fellow, St John's College, Cambridge

Mark was born in 1968 and educated in Shrewsbury, London and Oxford. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1993 and has served as Curate of St John’s Wood, Chaplain to the Bishop of London, Rector of the Actors’ church in Covent Garden, Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, and Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral. He is currently Dean of St John’s College, Cambridge.

Mark has a strong interest in poetry, novels, theatre and human rights. He was made Deputy Priest Ordinary to HM the Queen in 1996 and he is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s College London. He is honorary Canon Theologian of Wakefield Cathedral and a Visiting Scholar of Sarum College. He won the global Michael Ramsey Prize for theological writing in 2019 for his book The Splash of Words: Believing in Poetry.

He is a regular broadcaster, reviewer and a well-known preacher.

Virtual lectures

Mark is available to deliver his lectures online, via Zoom or streaming. Please ask about this option when making your booking.


The Collage of God
Readings for Weddings
Readings for Funerals
John Donne: Verse and Prose
The Splash of Words: Believing in Poetry
A Good Year
By Way of the Heart: the Seasons of Faith

My Sour-Sweet Days: George Herbert and the Journey of the Soul

Lecture titles

  • Are You Sitting Comfortably? The Art of Unease and the Spiritual Life
  • Poetry: The Native Language of Faith
  • The Collage of God: Faith, Doubt and Guessing at God