New rector wants to reach out to Hemel Hempstead

Archdeacon Jonathan Smith, new rector Reverend John Williams, and Bishop Dr Michael Beasley at the ceremony
Archdeacon Jonathan Smith, new rector Reverend John Williams, and Bishop Dr Michael Beasley at the ceremony
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The new rector of Hemel Hempstead is aiming to put the church back at the “centre of the community.”

Reverend John Williams is returning to the Dacorum area more than 40 years after he left Westbrook Hay School as a pupil.

He was named as the new team rector for Hemel in a service at St Mary’s Church in old town, and the role give him responsibility over other churches in the area, Highfield, Adeyfield, Warners End and Grovehill.

He was installed to the role by Rt Revd Dr Michael Beasley, the Bishop of Hertford, and The Venerable Jonathan Smith, the Archdeacon of St Albans, in a ceremony amongst friends, family and regular parishioners.

Speaking to the Gazette, Reverend Williams, aged 54, said: “The town has changed quite a bit, but it still looks vibrant. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Reverend Williams arrives in the town after an eight-year spell as a vicar in Cheshunt.

He will be overseeing the various activities the church is involved in, such as baptisms, weddings, funerals and bringing communities together.

He added: “I want to put the church back at the centre of the community.

“I hope it becomes more accessible for young people and families, and affords people the chance to a part of something. They will be welcomed.”