Vicar of St Paul’s Church in St Albans retires after 28 years

Tony and Lydia Hurle from St Paul's Church in St Albans.

Tony and Lydia Hurle from St Paul's Church in St Albans. - Credit: Archant

A St Albans vicar has hung up his dog collar after serving for more than 28 years at his Fleetville church.

Canon Tony Hurle has retired after a tenure which saw St Paul’s Church doubling in size following a major development that transformed the parish facility into a community hub used by a wide range of local organisations and activity groups.

He also oversaw the growth of the St Paul’s congregation, and the development of a staff team that oversees the church’s youth and children’s work, pastoral support, worship and other activities.

A farewell service planned for last weekend had to be postponed because of Covid. Plans for the service to take place at a later date are being considered.

Tony said: “It’s been a privilege to be vicar here at St Paul’s during these past three decades. My wife Lydia and I have enjoyed being part of a church community that has sought to grow in the love of God and to share that love with the people around them.

“It’s been a joy to be part of the lives of so many people and I’ve treasured the opportunity to join in the celebrations and sorrows of many families and individuals by taking their weddings, christenings and funerals.

“We shall miss St Albans very much, but leave a church that is in good heart, and remains committed to sharing the good news of the Christian gospel and serving the local community.”

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While at St Paul’s, Tony Hurle also forged close links with the local Islamic and Jewish communities, as well as with church leaders of all denominations across the city.

Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, said: “Tony has made a major contribution to the Christian life of St Paul’s, of St Albans and further afield.

“He will be much missed for his consistent cheerfulness, his ability to bring people together, and for his commitment to showing the relevance of Christ’s message of love and hope to our needy world.”

St Paul’s, in association with St Albans diocese, has begun the process of seeking a new Vicar for the parish.