Letter to the congregation of Bournville Parish Church in which Canon Peter announces his appointment as priest-in-charge at St Mary le Strand, London

20th May 2020


Dear Friends,


I write to share some significant news.

Last summer I began to discern that it was time for me to move to a new ministry.  This long process of prayer and reflection has led to me being appointed to a new role in the Diocese of London.  Whilst I am excited and happy to be offered this new role, I am also sad to be leaving Bournville which has been our home for nearly eighteen years.

From September I will begin a new ministry as priest-in-charge of St Mary le Strand.  This is a beautiful church which is right in the middle of The Strand with traffic flowing either side of it.  The church has had some ups and downs and, at present, they have a Sunday service only once a month and one midweek service.  However, that is all about to change as Westminster City Council are planning a scheme to pedestrianize that part of The Strand and for the church to become a focal point in the middle of a new public square.  My role will be to oversee the restoration of the church building and build up the ministry there so that the church can take its place in the heart of the regenerated area.

My last Sunday in Bournville will be 19th July and, if restrictions are lifted, we will move at the end of July.  I have no idea what will be possible in terms of public worship at that time, but I sincerely hope that we will find a good way to say a proper farewell.  I will have to come back for a party if necessary!

When I first began to think of moving the timing seemed just right and to fit so well with the rest of my family’s work and education.  Paula will continue in her role as Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, Susie will continue at University and Ruth will go into sixth form for her A’Levels.  Now, in the middle of this lockdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, I have to say that the timing feels far from ideal.  Nevertheless, I do trust that this is still the right thing and it will all work out in the end.

I would just like to say a few words here about what will happen in the interregnum.  When a church does not have a vicar in post then the responsibility for the parish rests with the Churchwardens under the guidance of the Area Dean and with support from the Archdeacon.  At Bournville Parish Church we are extremely fortunate to have Revd Gail Rogers who will continue as Assistant Curate.  Revd Gail is still in training and has one more year to serve of her curacy; through the coming year she will be supervised and supported by another local vicar.  I am confident that Revd Gail will do a superb job of maintaining the worshipping life and pastoral ministry of the church in this coming year. However, she will need the support and help of everyone in the church, and whilst she will be taking a lead in many things it will be the Churchwardens and PCC who will be responsible for ‘running the church’.

I would like to thank you all for your support and friendship over many years.  There is so much to be grateful for, we have loved being part of the Bournville community and it has been a great honour to serve as Vicar here.  Please keep us in your prayers in this time of change and transition.

With my prayers and all best wishes,


Canon Peter Babington

Vicar of Bournville