The new Dean of St Edmundsbury, the Very Revd Joe Hawes hopes to bring ‘sparkiness, holiness and fun‘ to his ministry and draw the cathedral closer to the communities it serves.
Dean Joe, 53, was installed at the weekend and says he is looking forward to being Dean “both with trepidation and excitement”.
He comes from the busy London parish of All Saints Fulham, where he helped grow the number of families and young people into the worshipping community and has been a parish priest for 25 years including team vicar at St Michael’s, Barnes Team Ministry, in London.
He 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.”
He succeeds the Very Rev Dr Frances Ward, 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 and 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.”
Joe is in a civil partnership with the Revd Chris Eyden, vicar of All Saints’ Putney who will remain serving there for the time being.