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Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Revd Canon Andrew Hawken to be the Chaplain of Midi-Pyrénées and Aude

On 1 September, the Revd Canon Andrew Hawken began a new ministry as chaplain of Midi-Pyrénées and Aude. He comes to us from the Diocese of Oxford where he was vicar of St Helen's, Benson.

Midi-Pyrenees and Aude is large and vibrant parish in the South West of France consisting of 6 congregations. It covers an area of 46,000 square kms. (In this diocese we often use a more convenient measure - Wales! Midi-Pyrénées and Aude is twice the size of Wales). There are over 100,000 English-speakers living in the area.

The work in this part of France began back in the 1960s in Toulouse, stimulated by the growth of British collaboration in the aircraft industry, initially Concorde and then Airbus. In more recent years, the vineyards, quieter pace and congenial climate have contributed to an influx of more, mainly retired people from the UK.

Canon Hawken will head up a team of two assistant priests, the Revd June Hutchinson and the Revd Canon Tony Jewiss, and three licensed readers, Mel Fancy, Adrian Wilson and Judy Wilson. There are also 8 clergy and 1 reader retired in the area with permission to officiate.

Excellent relations are maintained with the local Roman Catholic bishops. All our congregations use Roman Catholic parish churches for our services.

We welcome Fr Andrew and his wife Sylvia to our diocese. (Archdeacon Ken Letts will license Fr Andrew as chaplain on 23 October).

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