AFTER 17 years, Canon Judy French will say Amen for her Charlbury congregation one last time before taking on a new role for the Oxford Diocese.

The vicar, pictured, has been appointed the new Archdeacon of Dorchester after serving as Vicar of Charlbury with Shorthampton.

Her last Sunday service at St Mary’s Church, Charlbury, will take place on Sunday, May 25, and she will take up her new post on Thursday, June 19, following a service at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford.

Canon French, 53, said the Archdeaconry of Oxford had been split in two, with the Venerable Martin Gorrick covering the Oxford area, while she will cover the Archdeaconry of Dorchester, representing the rest of Oxfordshire.

She said: “Once I’m appointed I will be the Venerable Judy French.

“I am sorry to be leaving St Mary’s after 17 years — it has been my spiritual home as well as my actual home. I’m sure my last Sunday here will be an emotional occasion as we have been through a lot together.”

Canon French said her appointment would not affect the work of the Rev Canon Sue Booys, the Rector of Dorchester.

The Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Rev Colin Fletcher, said: “I am delighted that Judy French has accepted Bishop John’s invitation to become the first Archdeacon of Dorchester.”

Canon French has also served as area dean for Chipping Norton for five years.

She was among the first women to be ordained a priest, in 1994 at Coventry Cathedral.