Congregation asked for their views over future of Essex’s biggest church

A CONSULTATION is underway to meet the future needs of St Mary’s Parish Church in Saffron Walden.

At morning service on Sunday, the rector Rev David Tomlinson invited the congregation to give its views about the current arrangements within the church building, the Parish Rooms and the Parish Office.

Addressing the service he said: “This church building is a beautiful and prayerful expression of the community’s worship for Almighty God over many centuries, and a focal point within the town. We want to retain that special and precious character.

“But we ought to consider whether any changes are needed to meet the present and anticipated future needs of the worshipping community and to further God’s work in the town.”

A task group representing different groups of users within the congregation has therefore prepared a detailed Statement of Needs. A leaflet summarising their thinking was distributed on Sunday and the congregation is being invited to give feedback.

“It is hoped that this thorough evaluation of the current and future needs of the church buildings by all groups of users and individuals will inform the next stage of the process,” added Rev Tomlinson. “Only when the needs have been thoroughly assessed can work start on developing possible solutions.”

Rev Tomlinson stressed that, at this stage, there are no set plans for development or funding and recognised that meeting the needs identified is likely to be a long term project phased over several years.

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The second stage will be to invite further consultation with local community groups, authorities, the Diocesan Advisory Committee, the Church Buildings Council and English Heritage.

Anyone interested in knowing more can view the Statement of Needs at the Parish Office and on the Church website at