On the Sunday before All Saints’ Day, Fr David Greenwood, Priest in Charge of All Saints’ Marseille, recalled a number of former saints who have gifted the congregation with their presence and in doing so reintroduced and dedicated the Hawkins Chalice on its 150th anniversary. 

The Rev'd James Beaumont Hawkins and Mrs Emma Charlotte Hawkins arrived in Marseille in 1864. The church congregation had already been meeting for 16 years. It was an interesting time. Jules Verne had just published his work, “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” and the soon-to-be famous painter, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, had just been born.  Some issues seem vaguely familiar though – European Unity was in question due to a war between Denmark and Prussia Germany; there were civil wars in far off countries - Brazil, New Zealand, China, and the America, and the United States was the in the grip of a hotly contested presidential election with votes scheduled for 8 November. It was won  by Abraham Lincoln who headed back to Washington.

It was not a healthy time. Not for people and not for plants. Though the Great Plague of 1790 Marseille, was 75 years before, the ongoing outbreak of phylloxera was causing a collapse of the grape industry in every vineyard in Europe. Hardest hit were the grapes of Germany and France. And then, as now, Public Health was always a great concern for the swampy, mosquito infested, gritty, international port city of Marseille.

Church documents do not record whether Rev'd and Mrs Hawkins were fearful for their health when they arrived in southern France; but within the year, Mrs Hawkins had died.  What a sad end to her valiant missionary ministry. In his grief, Rev Hawkins commissioned a sterling silver chalice to be made in England. It was dedicated to the Glory of God and in memory of his beloved Emma Charlotte on the Sunday before All Saints Day 1866. And so the Hawkins’s chalice is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

For Sunday’s service Fr David Greenwood wore the All Saints’ Marseille 1920s newly restored festal vestments and the historic silver Rector’s Ring. The ministry and sacrifice of the Hawkins family was recalled during the Eucharistic Prayer and the Hawkins Chalice was used for the distribution of the sacrament – all to the glory of God.

Information from David Greenwood, All Saints, Marseille, France.