New senior Suffolk clergyman has proven track record of growing numbers of worshippers

The Rev Canon Joe Hawes, who will become the new Dean of St Edmundsbury this summer pictur

Caption: The Rev Canon Joe Hawes, who will become the new Dean of St Edmundsbury this summer pictured with the Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, left, and pupils from Cockfield primary school, Bailey Morris, six, Beau Boreham, six, Alexa Spivey, five, visiting the cathedral in Bury St Edmunds for an RE lesson yesterday. Picture: KEITH MINDHAM PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

A priest who has increased by 25% the number of families and young people worshipping at the major London parish he leads has been chosen as the new Dean of St Edmundsbury.

The Rev Canon Joe Hawes, Vicar of All Saints’ in Fulham for the past 15 years, and who enjoys scuba-diving in his leisure time, will start his new senior role during the summer.

He succeeds the Very Rev Dr Frances Ward, Suffolk’s first female dean, who left in October after seven years to become a writer and theologian.

Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the Rt Rev Martin Seeley, said Canon Hawes had increased his regular congregation to more than 500 each Sunday, with a particular ministry with families and young people.

Bishop Martin said: “He is an outstanding and Godly priest. He is warm, engaging, caring and fun. He brings energy and wisdom, and a huge amount of experience in parish ministry.

“In Fulham he has developed worship to be engaging and accessible for people of different backgrounds and ages, and a church looking outwards, engaged in loving service with those in need.

“He has strong leadership and organisational skills, sees the cathedral as serving the whole county, not just Bury St Edmunds, and I look forward to working with him across the county for the gre ter good.”

Most Read

Canon Hawes, 52, who will become one of the most senior Church of England figures in Suffolk, said: “I am really looking forward to getting to know the people of Suffolk and to taking my place among the Bishops’ staff.

“I am keen to see even more people discover the beauty of the cathedral. We need to build our financial reserves so that we can further develop our excellence within music, worship, learning and care to the highest possible standards.

“We need to provide a place which is both sanctuary in an uncertain world, and also a forum for debate and reflection on the major questions which are challenging us as a society at the moment.”

Canon Hawes is in a civil partnership with the Rev Chris Eyden, the vicar of All Saints’ Putney, who will remain serving in Putney for the time being.

He will be installed as the Dean of St Edmundsbury in the Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds on Saturday, July 14.

Roger Wright, Chief Executive of Aldeburgh Music, who was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to lead the process of finding a new Dean, said: “It was a pleasure and privi-lege to chair the panel for this appointment.

“His considerable experience, and his warm and engaging personality will help the cathedral be a beacon of hope for Suffolk as it broadens its appeal to all.

“Joe will be strong and thoughtful leader in this new period of the life of the cathedral and we very much look forward to his presence in the diocese.”

Canon Hawes’ parish of All Saints’ Fulham has been developing it’s broadcasting profile – the Christmas Day the service was live on BBC1, and Palm Sunday Morning worship will be broadcast on Radio 4 on March 25.

The Rt Rev Graeme Knowles, acting Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, said: “The Cathedral Chapter are delighted at Joe’s appointment. He will bring many gifts, experience and skills from his present ministry in Fulham.

“Joe will be joining the cathedral at a time when our vision and strategy is taking shape, therefore he will be able to contribute greatly to our future plans for the cathedral, town of Bury St Edmunds and county of Suffolk.”

Canon Hawes is a former Durham University graduate who studied theology at St Stephen’s House, Oxford.He has been a parish priest for 25 years. Prior to his current post at All Saints’ Fulham he was Team Vicar for eight years at St Michael’s, Barnes Team Ministry, in London. He served his curacy within the Clapham Team Ministry.

He has been Honorary Canon of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Gaborone, Botswana, an initiative to share clergy professional development.

He is the Bishop of London and Church Commissioners’ nominated trustee on the Board of the Fulham Palace Trust, engaged in reshaping the mission and finances of this historic residence of the Bishops of London.

His other leisure interests include gardening, cooking, theatre and opera, and travel.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter