Following the news last week of the appointment of Canon Michael Evans as the Bishop-elect of East Anglia, the Catholic Communications Service has sent us his biography today. Michael Evans was born on August 10, 1951 in South London, and moved to Whitstable in Kent when he was five. He attended St Mary's Catholic Primary School there, and went on to Simon Langton Grammar School in Canterbury where he gained A-level passes in French, History and Latin. He went straight from the Sixth Form to study for the priesthood at St John's Seminary, Wonersh, near Guildford in Surrey. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Southwark on June 22, 1975, and spent two years as assistant priest at St Elizabeth's in Richmond, Surrey. From 1977-1979 he studied for a Master of Theology degree at Heythrop College, University of London, and then returned to St John's Seminary for eight years as lecturer in Christian Doctrine. While there, he was also chaplain to St Teresa's Convent School in Effingham, Surrey. From 1985-1987 he was Vice-Rector at the seminary, with the then Monsignor Peter Smith (later the second Bishop of East Anglia, and now Archbishop of Cardiff) as Rector. From 1987-1993, he was a university chaplain at the South London Universities Chaplaincy, returning to the seminary from 1993-1995, once again as lecturer and Vice-Rector. He was one of the two assisting priests at Mgr Peter Smith's ordination as Bishop of East Anglia in May 1995. From 1995 until now, Canon Evans has been parish priest of St Augustine's in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, a thriving parish with a Sunday Mass attendance of 1300 and with many young people actively involved in its life and worship. He was appointed Canon Theologian of the Archdiocese of Southwark by Archbishop Michael Bowen in 1996, and has many other responsibilities. He has been a regular writer of articles and pamphlets on theological issues. Ecumenical dialogue has been an important part of his ministry. Since 1991, he has been a member of the British Methodist/Roman Catholic Committee, and in 1997 was appointed by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity to be one of the eight Catholic members of the International Joint Commission for Dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church. Every year for the last twenty five years he has spent a week's retreat at the ecumenical community at Taize in France, and hopes young adults from the diocese will accompany him there in future years. Since 1989, he has been a member of the Catholic Bishops' Conference Committee for Priestly Formation. From 1995-2003, he was chairman of the Archdiocese of Southwark Justice and Peace Coordinating Committee. Of all these various roles, Canon Evans says of being a parish priest for the last seven and a half years: "This is the ministry I have loved most!" Much of his priestly ministry has been spent working with young people, especially older teenagers and young adults, and he hopes to make that work one of the focal points of his new ministry as Bishop of East Anglia. The appointment of Canon Michael Evans keeps up the connection between East Anglia and the Archdiocese of Southwark. The first two bishops, Bishop Alan Clark and Bishop Peter Smith, were both priests of that diocese. Among his more 'secular' interests, Canon Evans lists being a fervent life-long supporter of Leeds United Football Club, and having a great liking for both the music of Shostakovich and any food with red hot chillies! He also has a great interest in Cambodia. His present parish is twinned with the Catholic community of Kompong Thom in Cambodia. He visited the community in October 2001, and has been trying to learn some basic Cambodian (Khmer) for his next visit. He hopes to keep up the contacts in some way in the future.
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