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New Appointment for the Reverend Canon Michael Hampel

We are pleased to announce that the Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Precentor of St Paul’s Cathedral, has been named as the new Vice-Dean and Precentor of Durham Cathedral. 

As Precentor, Canon Michael will oversee and manage the provision of services and the conduct of divine worship at a cathedral which is also the shrine of two great northern saints: St Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede. As Vice Dean, he will support the Chapter and especially the Dean in the oversight of the governance of the place, helping to manage its resources both in relation to its staff and volunteers and its fabric and finance. 

He will leave St Paul’s at the end of October and be installed in Durham on Saturday 17th November 2018. 

The Very Reverend David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s, said: “Michael has given a huge amount to the worship and work of St Paul’s over the last seven years. His energy, creativity and vision have not only enabled the Cathedral to deliver its worship each day to a very high standard, but have also marked out the one-off services and events which have indeed earned the epithet of ‘special’. From the Diamond Choir to the 90-year-olds at the Queen’s 90th birthday, from a quiet memorial service in the Crypt to the poignancy and impact of the Grenfell Tower Memorial Service, Michael has enabled the teams in the Liturgy, Music and Virgers Departments to work together with colleagues across the Cathedral to produce memorable and outstanding events which have met the needs and touched the hearts of millions in this country and across the world. 

Michael has also widened our cultural and dramatic horizons, whether it’s been Paddington at St Paul’s, Paul’s Boys and Edward’s Boys, or the stories created to entertain the Choristers at their Amen Court Christmas Party; he has brought together his professional and personal interests to educate and entertain, and his skills in fundraising have led to the first-ever renovation of the bells, currently under way. 

As well as his liturgical work, Michael has played an important role in Chapter, leading in safeguarding work for the Cathedral, acting as Vice-Chair of school governors and chairing the Learning in Harmony Project, driving forward projects and being the Chapter’s master of detail and memory. He played a crucial and demanding role at the beginning of his time here during the protest camp, and has been at the heart of many other aspects of the Cathedral’s life. I have relied substantially on his experience and wisdom. Durham is fortunate that Michael has a deep love for that city and cathedral; and while we will miss him enormously, we rejoice with him as he takes his commitment and expertise to the Church in the north.”

The Reverend Canon Michael Hampel said of his appointment: “I have been greatly blessed by my work with the community of faithful people who make up the St Paul’s family. The daily round of worship here and the special services and events are only possible because of the commitment of everyone who works here whether in my area of responsibility or not. I have loved being here and numbering so many good people as my colleagues and I have loved my wider involvement in many institutions and organisations across London, not least the Diocese itself. I shall miss St Paul’s very much but I know that I take your prayers and goodwill with me to the North East of England. Thank you very much for everything.”

Canon Michael’s interests in theatre, literature and music and his origins in Stratford-upon-Avon have contributed to his flair for cathedral liturgy and worship on the grand scale and inspired him to employ the art of story in the teaching of the faith. He chairs meetings with clarity and warmth and his rehearsals for special services are a performance in themselves. 

He previously spent 15 years in County Durham as an undergraduate at Castle (University College, Durham), curate in Spennymoor, Minor Canon and Sacrist of Durham Cathedral, and Senior Tutor of St Chad’s College, Durham, before taking up the post of Residentiary Canon and Precentor of St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Suffolk and then coming to St Paul’s in March 2011. He has also chaired the Precentors’ Conference for six years.