Rev Kenneth Victor Hewitt 1930-2021
Ken Hewitt, who has died in his 91st year, was Vicar of St Augustine, South Kensington for 22 years and Chairman of MANNA 1986 – 2007. An outstandingly clever schoolboy, he won a scholarship to London University at the age of 16, graduating with a BSc in 1949 and a Certificate of Education in 1951. He could have been a scientist of repute and retained a keen interest in science all his life. However, in 1960, feeling the call to priesthood he trained at Cuddesdon and was ordained in 1962. He served his first curacy at St Martin’s Maidstone and a second curacy at St Michael’s Croydon in 1964. In 1967 he was appointed as Priest-in-charge, and from 1973, Vicar, of St Augustine, South Kensington where he served until his retirement in 1995. A chance reading of Crockfords soon after his ordination alerted him to the worldwide Anglican Communion and he began to pray for smaller, struggling dioceses particularly those whose language was not English. By the early 1960s his prayers became focused particularly on Lebombo (Mozambique).
He was elected Chairman of MANNA, then known as the Lebombo Association, in 1986 and undertook his first visit to Lebombo in 1989, whilst the civil war was still in progress. The former Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola were undergoing a period of great upheaval and civil war as rival factions battled for supremacy, with the Anglican Church caught in the crossfire.
One of the highlights of his leadership was the celebration of MANNA’s centenary in 2006 when all three Bishops – Dinis Sengulane of Lebombo, Mark van Koevering of Niassa (in the north of Mozambique) and Andre Soares of Angola – joined with over 200 supporters for a never-to-be forgotten service and celebration at St John’s Waterloo.
On his retirement from parish ministry in 1995, he moved to Bromley College in South London where he soon became a valued and active member of the community, taking part in college life and worship and preaching regularly in the chapel. He was a well-known coin collector possessing a notable collection of pre-Roman and Roman-British coins.
He sometimes despaired of a Church of England whose unofficial motto seemed to be “Everything is possible so long as nothing changes at all”. He stood down as MANNA Chairman in 2007 but continued his involvement and support. He loved being a member of the Athenaeum Club where he would retreat from parish life every Friday and which did him the honour of making him a Life Member. He was also closely involved with the Anglican Association for the Welfare of Animals, serving as chairman for a number of years.
His failing health caused his eventual move from Bromley to St Barnabas College in Lingfield and eventually to the East Sussex Hospital where he died peacefully on 8 September 2021.