Archdeacon of Blackburn announces retirement

RETIRING: The Venerable John Hawley, Archdeacon of Blackburn

RETIRING: The Venerable John Hawley, Archdeacon of Blackburn

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One of the Church of England’s key figures in Lancashire has announced his retirement after more than 40 years as a clergyman.

The Venerable John Hawley, Archdeacon of Blackburn, will hang up his robes in July - and head for the golf course.

To be Archdeacon of Blackburn has been a huge challenge over 13 years, helping the Diocese to face the reality of the need to change and become more focused on discipleship and evangelism and hopefully doing so with humour and some informality.

Archdeacon Hawley, whose “patch” includes Leyland and Chorley, has held the position for 11 years and admitted: “At 65 it is the right time for me to step aside while I still have health and energy.

“To be Archdeacon of Blackburn has been a huge challenge over 13 years, helping the Diocese to face the reality of the need to change and become more focused on discipleship and evangelism and hopefully doing so with humour and some informality.”

Archdeacon Hawley, who served as vicar of a mining parish in Doncaster during the 1984 miners’ strike and was stadium manager for American evangelist Billy Graham’s rallies in Sheffield in 1985, intends to play more golf in his retirement.

He became Archdeacon of Blackburn in 2002 and since then has taken special responsibility for urban issues and for overseeing the work of hospital and prison chaplaincies.

Bishop Julian Henderson said: “John has given an immense amount of devoted service as Archdeacon of Blackburn and when he does retire he will be missed immensely by me and by the whole Diocese.”