The Very Revd Joe Hawes, a civil-partnered Dean of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, was unanimously voted the new Chair of the Foundation at a meeting of the Trustees on January 19th 2022 ahead of the retirement of Bishop Paul Bayes.
Speaking about the decision, Director Jayne Ozanne said:
“I am incredibly grateful to my mentor, friend and wise counsel, Bishop Paul, without whom we would never have set up the Foundation nor achieved all that we have done. His wisdom, grace, patience and encouragement have been instrumental to the success of the Foundation and indeed the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives. He has been an exemplary role model and ally of the LGBT community, and we owe him the very deepest debt of thanks. His retirement heralds in a new chapter for the Foundation, and it is fitting and right that we now have a LGBT+ clergy chair, which I’m thrilled Dean Joe has accepted. I am really looking forward to working with him.”
Reflecting on his stepping down ahead of his retirement, Rt Revd Paul Bayes said:
“I’ve been hugely grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Jayne Ozanne and the Trustees of the Ozanne Foundation, as we seek to oppose homophobia, to make a difference for LGBT+ people, and to persuade churches and other faith communities to be properly inclusive and to reflect the love of God more fully. The Foundation has done a huge amount in a short time, due to the extraordinary commitment and energy that Jayne brings to this work. I know that Joe and the Trustees will continue to uphold her in this vital ministry, and I wish them every blessing as they do so.”
Very Revd Joe Hawes expressed his gratitude for being appointed to the role:
“I am grateful and excited to take on this new role and humbled by the opportunity. I passionately share the Foundation’s vision of working with partners in this country and around the world to bring greater inclusion and acceptance for our LGBTI+ sisters and brothers, many of whom live daily in real danger of physical and mental harm, and to bring an end once and for all to the harmful and discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy”. As one who experienced as a teenager the bullying typical of former days, I am dedicated to working with the Ozanne Foundation to continue to make a positive difference in the lives of those who suffer such discrimination today.”
Whilst the Very Revd Joe Hawes takes on the role of Chair immediately, Bishop Paul Bayes will remain co-chair of the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives – an initiative overseen by the Ozanne Foundation – until after its March 2022 conference.