Dear Richard,

Thank you for signing up to ‘save the parish’, or at least be a part of the effort to do so. This campaign has developed very quickly, really out of the realisation that time is very short for there to be any form of co-ordinated action by laity and clergy who are concerned by the trend to deprioritise and defund parochial ministry. It is absolutely essential that the laity assert their ownership of the Church. The Church of England is your Church.

You will have seen my invitation to join this campaign on our (hastily constructed) Save the Parish website, and will understand that this is not a plan to create a political party within the church or to have policies across the range of issues we Anglicans so often disagree about. It is a plan to draw together the disparate groups of people who wish to save our parochial system for future generations and to stand for General Synod in a co-ordinated campaign under the banner, “Save the Parish”.

To that end, I would like to invite you to the inaugural gathering of the Save the Parish movement at the church of St Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield on Tuesday 3 August at 7pm. Beyond my introduction, there will be two main speakers:

The Rev’d Professor Alison Milbank is Professor of Theology and Literature at Nottingham University and co-author of For the Parish, who will give a talk on why we need to save the parish, that jewel in the crown of the Church of England, and what that might mean in reality, beyond fine words.The Revd Stephen Trott is Rector of Pitsford, in Peterborough diocese, and has been a member of both the General Synod and the Church Commissioners for over twenty years. He will talk to us on why General Synod actually is important and give us the nuts and bolts of how to stand and what your commitments would be, should you stand.

After this there will be the opportunity to mix and mingle (subject to any Covid restrictions) and to enjoy drinks from the bar. There is no charge for attendance. We will also be livestreaming the event for those who cannot attend (and I will send further details of this closer to the time).


Click here to register to attend
When signing up to the website, you indicated that you were not able to stand in the upcoming election to the General Synod but your contribution to this campaign could still be vital.

First of all by identifying your Deanery Synod representatives. They are the electors for the House of Laity on General Synod. The turnout is generally less than 50%, which means making sure that their vote could tip the whole thing in a sensible direction. Lobby, coax, and nudge them into voting for candidates pledging to ‘Save the Parish’ – they are, after all, your representatives!

Secondly by putting your thinking caps on for anyone who might be interested in standing. For this campaign to have any bite, we need people from across the country to stand and make their voices heard. We have already had almost two hundred put themselves forward in the last week, but we need more.

You can see from the timetable below when any candidates would need to stand, and when Deanery Synod representatives need to vote.

I hope that you will be able to be present on the day to meet some of the other people enthused about our church and its wonderful localised parish system. If not, I hope you will be able to join us online and be just as enthused as those who are present.

Until then, I wish you every blessing.

The Revd Marcus Walker
Rector, Great St Bartholomew, West Smithfieldhttps://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2021/6-august/news/uk/save-the-parish-campaigners-have-synod-in-their-sights?utm_campaign=Church%20Times%20RSS%20Daily%20bulletin%202.0&utm_source=emailCampaign&utm_content=&utm_medium=email



Dear Richard,

Well, we have done it! We have launched a movement which will, I hope, help rebalance the Church of England back towards a love of and support for its parish system. The evening was a great success and you can watch the speeches by the Revd Professor Alison Milbank and the Revd Stephen Trott by clicking on this link or the image below. There were over 100 people signed up as attending, and, to date, over 1700 people have watched the proceedings online.

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The Church Times has also run with an article on the launch, which you can see here.

But this is only the start. There are a number of things that will happen on the back of this meeting.

1) We will be sending out a “how-to” pack within the next two weeks to help anyone volunteering to stand.

2) Within this will be a short briefing pack on the main issues. For this we need examples. Lots of examples. Examples of:

  • how money is being redirected away from parishes
  • how money is being wasted on gimmicks,
  • how parishes are being restructured, especially any movement away from the traditional parish system.

But we need examples from across the country. If you have anything of this sort, please send them to Justin Brett, who has volunteered to compile examples for us, at this e-mail address.

3) We need more candidates. Some dioceses have flooded us with volunteers (thank you London, Chichester, Norwich, Southwark, Oxford, Salisbury, York and Winchester) but others have not.

Nobody, as yet, has volunteered from Birmingham or Truro.

Very few have volunteered from Blackburn, Carlisle, Chester, Guildford, Leicester, Newcastle, or St Eds & Ips. For this to be a truly national campaign we need people to stand across the nation. If you know anyone in these dioceses who might make a good synod member, please give them a call. If you’re from those dioceses and are weighing up throwing your hat into the ring, please continue thinking and praying about this. At the moment, if you could point people to the sign-up form at www.savetheparish.com, we will collect their information and be in touch.

Here is a reminder of the timescale we are working to.

So everything right now is working towards September 8. After that, we’ll have to work out how best to identify and co-ordinate electors in order to maximise the number of Save the Parish candidates elected to General Synod.

Until then, I hope you have a very restful summer.

The Revd Marcus Walker
Rector, Great St Bartholomew, West Smithfield