A priest who dramatically increased the number of families and young people worshipping at his London parish is the new Dean of St Edmundsbury.
As vicar of All Saints’ in Fulham for 15 years, the Rev Canon Joe Hawes boosted the regular congregation by 25 per cent to more than 500 each Sunday.
The 52-year-old will be installed as the new Dean at St Edmundsbury Cathedral on Saturday, July 14 and succeeds the Very Rev Dr Frances Ward, who left in October.
He said: “I’m 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, who is in a civil partnership with the Rev Chris Eyden, the vicar of All Saints’ in Putney, has developed a ministry with families and young people.
His parish’s Christmas Day service was broadcast live on BBC One and Palm Sunday Morning worship can be heard on Radio 4 on March 25.
Canon Hawes’ hobbies include scuba-diving, gardening, cooking, theatre and opera.
The Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said: “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.”
Roger Wright, chief executive of Aldeburgh Music, who led the process of finding a new dean, added: “His considerable experince, and his warm and engaging personality will help the cathedral be a beacon of hope for Suffolk as it broadens its appeal to all.”