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Canon Michael Hampel returns to Durham Cathedral as Vice-Dean and Precentor

01 August 2018

The successor to the Reverend Canon Dr David Kennedy as Vice-Dean and Precentor of Durham Cathedral returns to the North East from his current ministry at St Paul’s Cathedral.  The Reverend Canon Michael Hampel will take up the position of Vice-Dean and Precentor of Durham Cathedral following Canon Kennedy’s move to Corbridge Parish Church, Northumberland, in October. Michael’s main role will be leading on the planning of worship at the Cathedral as well as being a member of Chapter, its governing body.  He will also be Custos of the Chorister School, located on the Durham World Heritage Site as part of the Cathedral.

Canon Hampel, who is originally from Stratford upon Avon, attended Durham University completing both undergraduate and post-graduate degrees.  He trained for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge ahead of being a curate at St Paul’s Parish Church, Spennymoor, County Durham. From 1997 to 2002 Michael was a Minor Canon at Durham Cathedral, becoming a Senior Tutor at St Chad’s College, Durham University from 2002 to 2004, ahead of being a Residentiary Canon and Precentor at St Edmundsbury Cathedral to 2011.  In 2011 he became a Residentiary Canon and Precentor at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham, says, “We look forward to the ministry and skills that Michael brings. He has a deep affinity for this Cathedral and County Durham and will be a huge asset for the region.  He succeeds someone who is highly creative and imaginative in planning engaging worship but no doubt he will continue and build on the legacy of Canon Kennedy.”

The Reverend Canon Michael Hampel says, “I am hugely looking forward to taking up this rich and fulfilling role at a place which I regard as my spiritual home. Durham, its Cathedral, University, Diocese and County, formed me and fostered my vocation, nurturing the early stages of my ministry. I owe it a great deal and I look forward to contributing to the faith, well-being and heart of its people and the place itself, as well as learning new things from, as author Bill Bryson famously said, ‘the best cathedral on planet earth.’”


The Right Reverend Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham says, “I am delighted that Michael Hampel is joining us as Canon Precentor and Vice-Dean. He brings huge experience of Cathedral life, a keen commitment to worship and mission for people of all ages, backgrounds and interests. He also comes with a deep love for the region, the Cathedral but above all for the Lord Jesus Christ. I look forward to welcoming him home to serve amongst us in Durham Cathedral and the Diocese of Durham.”

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 Vergers 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. 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.”

Canon Hampel will be installed as Vice-Dean and Precentor of Durham Cathedral on Saturday 17th November at 3pm.