New Dean of St Edmundsbury aims to bring ‘sparkiness, holiness and fun’
The new Dean of St Edmundsbury who was installed at a service attended by hundreds of well-wishers hopes to bring 'sparkiness, holiness and fun'.
The Very Rev Joe Hawes became one of the most senior Church of England clergy in Suffolk following Saturday's service at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.
Dean Hawes, who helped grow the number of families and young people worshipping at the major London parish he led prior to his new role, aims to draw the cathedral closer to the communities it serves.
In the midst of the challenges, I hope there can also be sparkiness, holiness and fun - Dean Hawes
The 53-year-old said: "I have approached becoming dean with both trepidation and excitement.
"With trepidation because the challenge of being a cathedral dean today requires a whole series of skills and aptitudes, many of which I am going to have to work hard to acquire.
"With excitement because how could anyone not be excited at the prospect of coming to work in such beautiful surroundings, in such a friendly and supportive community?
"Cathedrals are in an interesting place at the moment, never more visited and with attendances growing, but also never more scrutinised by the media and national Church institutions.
"The struggle to maintain and develop historic buildings while growing mission and ministry means that Cathedral Chapters are under pressure as never before.
"Of course, I'll stumble, and hope you'll forgive me when I do, and help me up again, but in the midst of the challenges, I hope there can also be sparkiness, holiness and fun.
"I hope that I can be part of a move to draw the cathedral even closer to the parishes it serves, finding new and deeper ways of being a resource, a place of pilgrimage, a place of hospitality and worship."
Dean Hawes has been a parish priest for 25 years and was previously vicar of All Saints' Fulham, where he regularly saw 500 worshippers every Sunday.
Before that he was team vicar for eight years at St Michael's, Barnes Team Ministry, in London.
He has been Honorary Canon of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Gaborone, Botswana, an initiative to share clergy professional development.
He is in a civil partnership with the Rev Chris Eyden, who is vicar of All Saints' Putney and will remain serving there for the time being.
Dean Hawes 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, and the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles, who led the cathedral as Acting Dean.
The Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, led Saturday's service in Bury St Edmunds.
He said: "Joe brings drive, wisdom, and a vast amount of experience.
"He is warm, engaging, caring and fun and a champion of those in need.
"He is a Godly priest who will be a strong leader and I am excited to be working with him across the county for the greater good."