Archbishop of Canterbury sings praises of Buxton church musician

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A Buxton musician has been presented with a prestigious award by the Archbishop of Canterbury for contributions to worship in the church.

Michael Williams, director of music at St John’s Church in Buxton, has received the award for his long service as organist and choirmaster in the parish, where he has worked since 1985.

The Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said: “Michael Williams receives the Cranmer Award for the breadth, quality and longevity of an outstanding contribution to Christian worship and witness.”

Upon hearing the news, Michael said: “I feel enormously privileged. This is a great honour not just for me but for the choir who make it possible and the clergy who give us great encouragement and support.”

The Archbishop only introduced the award to the church this year, making Michael one of the first recipients. It is named after Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1533 to 1555, who wrote the Book of Common Prayer, and recognises outstanding contributions to the Anglican community.

The Rev John Hudghton, Team Rector of Buxton, said: “This is a timely and well deserved award. The musical excellence at St John’s not only enhances the atmosphere of worship but has contributed to the growth of our church.”

Michael has also been instrumental in establishing the Buxton Festival as a major international event—within which the church has a central role, not least through the BBC Radio 4 broadcast of a Festival Mass, alongside numerous other musical and liturgical events.

He was appointed MBE in 1997 for services to the arts in Buxton.