All Saints’ Parish Church is a late Victorian building, consecrated in 1892 to serve the needs of an ever-growing population in the latter years of the nineteenth century. Although originally a larger, and essentially poor and deprived parish, it is now one of the smallest in South London, but still serves a densely populated and primarily residential area, bordered by the River Wandle to the east, and the main thoroughfares of Merton High Street and Haydons Road to the south and west respectively.
Worship is traditional Anglo-Catholic and the Parochial Church Council has passed a Resolution on Episcopal Ministry as set out in the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests. The church is affiliated to the Society of S. S. Wilfrid and Hilda and, although under the patronage of the Bishop of Southwark, the parish looks to the Bishop of Fulham for Episcopal oversight.
All Saints’ C of E Primary School is a two-form entry school operating over two sites, with All Saints’ Church situated approximately half-way between the two. Recent OFSTED and SIAMS inspections have both rated the school as ‘good’ and there are strong links between school and church fostered by the Governing Body, School Staff, Clergy and Congregation as a whole.
The church has an enthusiastic choir, a regular team of servers and a dedicated congregation. The Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham and S. Joseph is a focus for prayer for all within the parish, promotes pilgrimage to Walsingham, and organises an annual weekend pilgrimage - often in July. The church hall, sited adjacent to the building, is suitable for gatherings of up to 100 people and is let on a regular basis to both church users and local community groups.
As a parish we wish to continue in the re-assurance that we shall – in the words of the Bishop’s Declaration - be allowed to flourish within the life and structures of the Church of England, and receive Pastoral and sacramental provision in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion.
Worship is centred on our sung Sunday morning Mass. The service is traditional Anglo-Catholic, includes the use of incense, and attendance averages between 35 and 50. Light refreshments are served at the back of the church after the service. Children are at present offered a worksheet, based on the Gospel reading, that they can complete during the service, but if we are to attract more young people and their families we recognise that we need to offer more. Evensong is sung once a month. Festivals are celebrated with Solemn Evensong and Benediction.
During the week there are usually two Low Masses, which offer a time for prayer and quiet reflection in our busy lives. Attendance consistently ranges between 6 and 8. The Rosary Group meets monthly on the 1st Sunday.
As we look to the future we will need to explore how we can encourage more young families and their children into our worshipping community. We need to look at our Sunday School provision, the possibility of special services, and ways in which children can be better integrated into our choir and team of servers. The possibility of our school choir singing in church – for instance at our Christmas Carol Service – is another avenue we would look to explore.
Welcoming everyone is an essential part of the All Saints’ ethos. We aim to make everyone feel valued, and to have a strong sense of ‘belonging,’ so that they feel able to share and participate fully in all that we have to offer.
We want to be a listening church, a church at the hub of the community and a church that can help people to grow in faith and love of God’s Church.
Outreach into our local community has to be part of our plans for the future. We already offer a weekly ‘drop-in’ coffee morning in church and are looking to start an ‘after school’ group in the school. A weekly ‘light lunch’ for older people is planned, and we also hope to explore the possibility of working with Mothers & Toddler Groups, the Uniformed Organisations and the All Saints’ Centre. Leaflets detailing our service times and list of upcoming events are delivered throughout the parish at Christmas and Easter. In addition our comprehensive and easy to understand website offers regularly updated information about the church and its activities.
Links with our school have grown stronger in recent years and the children attend church for all the major festivals, as well as for end-of-term celebrations. We have also trialled a school Mass for the older children, and feel that this is something that could be developed for the future.
We run a regular programme of Social Events, tailored to attract as many people as possible from outside our immediate worshipping community. Visitors are invited to leave their contact details so that future dates and information can be forwarded to them.
We have completed several large projects in the last few years and are now looking to begin fund-raising with a view to eventual replacement of our church hall. Although we manage to fulfil all our day-to-day financial obligations we realise that a development such as this is a ‘big ask,’ but as always we shall go forward in the knowledge that through faith and prayer there is nothing that cannot be accomplished.
In the light of the Resolution passed by the P.C.C. we would expect that our Priest would be a member of the Society of S.S. Wilfrid and Hilda and ideally a member of the Society of the Holy Cross.
As there is a Walsingham Cell at All Saints’ it would also be desirable that he be a Priest Associate of the Society of Our Lady of Walsingham.
We would like him to maintain the present style of worship, be a man of prayer, and a preacher of sound catholic and spiritual teaching, who could lead us into a deeper devotion and commitment of life.
A Priest able to communicate well with the children and prepared to continue and further our links with the school, would complement the strong commitment on the part of the Governing Body (through the Faith Group), and the school staff to promote the Christian ethos of the school.
Above all we seek a caring and enthusiastic Priest who would feel ‘at home’ at All Saints.’ We have many aspirations going forward, and whilst the realisation of much that we seek is in our own hands, we need to feel that we are supported and encouraged in all that we try to do. Knowing that we have a Priest that we can always turn to, knowing that we have a Priest who will guide and sustain us, and knowing that we have a Priest who loves our church as much as we do is all that we can ask.