Archdeacon’s farewell fills church with people from every corner
16th January 2019
The Archdeacon of Bedford, The Venerable Paul Hughes, took his leave from the Diocese of St Albans on his retirement in a farewell service on Saturday (12th January).
The Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire and the High Sheriff were both present.
A packed service at St Paul’s Church, Bedford, drew people from every part of his journey, from before his ordination when he was working as a Surveyor, until now. That encompassed people from Barnet, Hemel Hempstead where he was Vicar of St John’s Boxmoor, to taking responsibility as Archdeacon for 100 parishes in Bedfordshire. Among those present were the previous Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Dr Christopher Herbert, who appointed him as Archdeacon fifteen years ago.
Archdeacon Paul’s ministry in the Diocese of St Albans spans 36 years and will continue after retirement as he is not moving far. His wife, Canon Liz Hughes, is Senior Chaplain of Luton Airport and one of his duties after retirement will be to assist in the chaplaincy, as he puts it, “When my wife will be my boss.”
Paul spoke about the importance of church buildings as vital tools which symbolise the church’s commitment to people and places. The buildings serve people so they can be the church, but are not there themselves to be served, though. He quoted a sentence much used by Christian writers: “The church is never a place, always a people; never a fold but always a flock; never a sacred building but always a believing assembly.”
Retirement collections from across Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire will be given to two charities: The Beds and Herts Historic Churches Trust and the McCabe Education Trust, reflecting two of Archdeacon Paul’s passions: church buildings and pilgrimages.