Church Times

Last updated
Church Times
TypeWeekly newspaper
Owner(s) Hymns Ancient and Modern
PublisherGJ Palmer & Sons Ltd,
a wholly owned subsidiary of Hymns Ancient and Modern
EditorPaul Handley
Founded7 February 1863;159 years ago (1863-02-07)
Political alignment Church of England /
Anglican Communion
Language English
HeadquartersInvicta House, 108–114 Golden Lane, London
ISSN 0009-658X

The Church Times is an independent Anglican weekly newspaper based in London and published in the United Kingdom on Fridays.



The Church Times was founded on 7 February 1863 [1] by George Josiah Palmer, a printer. It fought for the Anglo-Catholic cause in the Church of England at a time when priests were being harried and imprisoned over such matters as lighting candles on altars and wearing vestments, which brought them into conflict with the Public Worship Regulation Act 1874, intended to “put down” Ritualism in the Church of England. The paper defended the spiritual independence of the Church of England in spite of the Church’s Established status. Many of the ceremonial and doctrinal matters that the paper championed are now accepted as part of mainstream Anglicanism.

Since the mid-1950s, the paper’s sympathies have broadened, embracing the principle of diversity of practise in the worldwide Anglican Communion, and looking more favourably on other Christian denominations. The paper carries more editorial and advertising than any of its main rivals for an Anglican readership.

The paper has always been independent from the church hierarchy. From its foundation until 1989 it was owned by the Palmer family, ending with Bernard Palmer, who combined the tasks of owner and editor for the final 20 years. He sold it to the charity Hymns Ancient & Modern, then chaired by Henry Chadwick.

Throughout its life, it has scrutinised the actions of the church hierarchy, besides covering the work of the parishes. It has provided extensive coverage of meetings of the Church of England’s central bodies, including the Convocations, the Church Assembly, and the General Synod. Its published annual Indexes have always described it as an “ecclesiastical and general” newspaper, and it has always included world events in its coverage. Much of its space has always been given over to serious book reviews, and, more recently, coverage of the arts.

The paper’s regular columnists include Paul Vallely, the former associate editor of The Independent , the poet and priest Malcolm Guite, and the priest and broadcaster Angela Tilby. Giles Fraser, the priest and media commentator, was a regular columnist from 2004 to 2013. The author Ronald Blythe wrote the "Word from Wormingford" column from 1993 to 2017. [2] Edward Heath was the paper's news editor from February 1948 to September 1949. [3]

It has been nicknamed (mainly among Anglo-Catholics since the 1970s or 80s) "Jezebel's Trumpet" (alluding to Jezebel the wife of King Ahab of Israel; II Kings). [4]

In February 2013, the Church Times marked its 150th anniversary. [5]

In April 2014, the paper published an article by David Cameron. He wrote: "I am a member of the Church of England, and, I suspect, a rather classic one: not that regular in attendance, and a bit vague on some of the more difficult parts of the faith. But that doesn't mean the Church of England doesn't matter to me or people like me: it really does." [6]

In the run-up to the 2017 General Election, the leaders of the three main political parties wrote for the paper on the importance of international development. [7]

It has published many interviews with high-profile figures, inside and outside the Church, including Justin Welby, [8] Terry Waite [9] Jeremy Vine, [10] Marilynne Robinson, [11] Francis Spufford, [12] Derren Brown, [13] Rhidian Brook, [14] Jon McGregor, [15] Joan Bakewell, [16] Sarah Perry, and Tom Holland [17]

The paper was named Niche Newspaper of the Year at the 2009 at the national Newspaper Awards, and won the award for Best Use of Colour in 2010. [18]

In November 2017, the paper's deputy news and features editor, Madeleine Davies, received an award from the Awareness Foundation for “her extraordinary work in the Christian media; her great courage and integrity as a source of inspiration and encouragement to people of faith everywhere.” [19] The award was presented by Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Previous winners have included the BBC's Middle East Editor, Jeremy Bowen and Baroness Berridge.

In April 2018, the Archbishop of Canterbury awarded the paper's former Education Correspondent, Margaret Holness, the Canterbury Cross for Services to the Church of England, “for sustained excellence as Education Correspondent of the Church Times for over twenty years”. [20]

A weekly podcast was launched in March 2017. [21] [22] Interviewees have included Vicky Beeching, [23] Rob Bell, [24] John Gray (philosopher)., [25] Neil MacGregor, [26] N.T. Wright [27] and Sarah Perry.

In January 2018, the paper's design was updated. [28] Editor Paul Handley wrote in the paper: "We ... want to make more of the fact that the print version of the Church Times now works very much in tandem with our website and social-media activity. Many readers, besides downloading our weekly app, now go to our website for breaking stories throughout the week, or to read a fuller version of the stories that appear in print." The Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, the Revd Dr Andrew Davison, wrote on Twitter: "Admiring the impressive new look of @ChurchTimes, I am reminded how central that newspaper is to our life in the @c_of_e, as a source of news, education, and untrammelled comment and discussion." [29]

In March 2018, a promotional video [30] was released. In the video, Madeleine Davies says: "I think what’s really important about the Church Times is it’s independent. We’re not affiliated to any other organisation, so we’re really free in what we can write." The editor, Paul Handley, says: “If the Church screws up, then we report it. If the Church does something fantastic, then we report it. We deliberately don’t have our own agenda.”

The Church Times also holds a number of festivals and events. In recent years these have included the Church Times Festival of Faith and Literature, [31] the Church Times Festival of Poetry, [32] the Festival of Preaching, [33] and The Parish: Has it had its day? [34] It also organises the Church Times Green Health Awards. [35]

In recent years the newspaper has taken a leading role in sponsoring the Greenbelt festival.

Since 1951, the paper has hosted an inter-diocesan cricket competition, the Church Times Cricket Cup. [36]


Contemporary contributors

Past contributors



The hymn “Onward, Christian Soldiers” was first published in the Church Times (15 October 1864).

Edward Heath, the future British Prime Minister, was news editor of the Church Times from February 1948 to September 1949. His work was “a mixture of administration, reporting, and sub-editing”. [58] His assignments for the paper included covering the 1948 Anglo-Catholic Congress and Wand's Mission to London. [59]

N. T. Wright (Tom Wright) was a weekly devotional columnist (Sunday’s Readings) from 1995 to 2000. He has said that writing the columns gave him the "courage" to embark upon his popular For Everyone (SPCK) series of commentaries on New Testament books. [60]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Church of England</span> Anglican state church of England

The Church of England is the established Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the 3rd century and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Homosexuality and the Anglican Communion</span> Gay and lesbian sexuality and the Anglican Communion

Since the 1990s, the Anglican Communion has struggled with controversy regarding homosexuality in the church. In 1998, the 13th Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops passed a resolution "rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture". However, this is not legally binding. "Like all Lambeth Conference resolutions, it is not legally binding on all provinces of the Communion, including the Church of England, though it commends an essential and persuasive view of the attitude of the Communion." "Anglican national churches in Brazil, South Africa, South India, New Zealand and Canada have taken steps toward approving and celebrating same-sex relationships amid strong resistance among other national churches within the 80 million-member global body. The Episcopal Church in the U.S. has allowed same-sex marriage since 2015, and the Scottish Episcopal Church has allowed same-sex marriage since 2017." "Church of England clergy have appeared to signal support for gay marriage after they rejected a bishops' report which said that only a man and woman could marry in church." The Church of England's 2019 General Synod was set to discuss a diocesan motion "to create a set of formal services and prayers to bless those who have had a same-sex marriage or civil partnership". At General Synod in 2019, the Church of England announced that same-gender couples may remain married and recognised as married after one spouse experiences a gender transition provided that the spouses identified as opposite genders at the time of the marriage.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ridley Hall, Cambridge</span> Theological college in the United Kingdom

Ridley Hall is a theological college located on the corner of Sidgwick Avenue and Ridley Hall Road in Cambridge, which trains men and women intending to take Holy Orders as deacon or priest of the Church of England, and members of the laity working with children and young people as lay pioneers and within a pastoral capacity such as lay chaplaincy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anglican Church of Australia</span> Church of the Anglican Communion

The Anglican Church of Australia, formerly known as the Church of England in Australia and Tasmania, is a Christian church in Australia and an autonomous church of the Anglican Communion. It is the second largest church in Australia after the Roman Catholic Church. According to the 2016 census, 3.1 million Australians identify as Anglicans. As of 2016, the Anglican Church of Australia had more than 3 million nominal members and 437,880 active baptised members. For much of Australian history the church was the largest religious denomination. It remains today one of the largest providers of social welfare services in Australia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal School of Church Music</span> Christian music education organisation

The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) is a Christian music education organisation dedicated to the promotion of music in Christian worship, in particular the repertoire and traditions of Anglican church music, largely through publications, training courses and an award scheme. The organisation was founded in England in 1927 by Sir Sydney Nicholson and today it operates internationally, with 8,500 members in over 40 countries worldwide, and is the largest church music organisation in Britain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jane Shaw</span>

Jane Alison Shaw is Principal of Harris Manchester College, Oxford, Professor of the History of Religion, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Oxford. Previously she was Professor of Religious Studies and Dean of Religious Life at Stanford University and Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

Kenyon Edward Wright was a priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church and a political campaigner. Wright chaired the Scottish Constitutional Convention (1989–1999), which laid the groundwork for the creation of the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999.

The Anglican Pacifist Fellowship (APF) is a body of people within the Anglican Communion who reject war as a means of solving international disputes, and believe that peace and justice should be sought through non-violent means.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Martyn Percy</span> British Anglican priest and theologian

Martyn William Percy is a British academic and theologian. Ordained as a priest in the Church of England, in 2022 he announced that he was leaving the church. He had been Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, from 2014 to 2022 and principal of Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford, from 2004 to 2014.

Mark Vernon is a psychotherapist and writer.

Bergen Anglican Church is a congregation of the Church of England in the Anglican Chaplaincy in Norway in the city of Bergen, Norway. Emerging in the late 1950s and institutionalised in 1962 the congregation was a spiritual home for British expatriates and especially the Second World War "War Brides" from Scotland. The congregation has grown to become broadly international in character providing worship in the English language. Since its emergence the congregation's strong core lay ministry and leadership was supplemented periodically by visiting or designated Anglican priests from St Edmund's Anglican Church in Oslo, and beginning in the 1990s was served by Peter Hogarth who served as the Assistant Chaplain for Western Norway, who was arrested for possession of child abuse images some years after the end of his responsibility for Bergen. Mpole Samuel Masemola was installed as the congregation's first resident priest January 2013, and left in July 2015. Normal worship services were first held at the Engensenteret Chapel, Baneveien 1, near Nøstet, and now at the historic Mariakirken i Bergen or St Mary's Church, Bergen since 2015. Within the scope of the Porvoo Communion the congregation enjoys close cooperation with the Bergen Cathedral parish of the Church of Norway. As a congregation within the Anglican Chaplaincy in Norway the Bergen Anglican Church is a part of the Archdeaconry of Germany and Northern Europe in the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, which is part of the province of Canterbury in the Church of England. The diocesan bishop is Robert Innes and David Hamid is Suffragan Bishop in Europe.

Sidney Ernest Dark was an English journalist, author and critic who was editor of the Church Times, among other publications. Dark wrote more than 30 books on subjects ranging from the church to literature and theatre, as well as biographies and novels.

Charles Ernest Escreet was an Anglican priest: the Archdeacon of Lewisham from 1906 to 1919.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Philip North</span>

Philip John North is a bishop in the Church of England. Since February 2015, he has been Bishop of Burnley, a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Blackburn. He was previously team rector of the parish of Old St Pancras.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rose Hudson-Wilkin</span> Bishop of Dover

Rose Josephine Hudson-Wilkin, is a British Anglican bishop, who has been suffragan Bishop of Dover in the diocese of Canterbury - deputising for the Archbishop - since 2019: she is the first black woman to become a Church of England bishop. She had served as Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons from 2010 to 2019, and previously in the Church Army and then parish ministry.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malcolm Guite</span> English poet

Ayodeji Malcolm Guite is an English poet, singer-songwriter, Anglican priest, and academic. Born in Nigeria to British expatriate parents, Guite earned degrees from Cambridge and Durham universities. His research interests include the intersection of religion and the arts, and the examination of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and British poets such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He was a Bye-Fellow and chaplain of Girton College, Cambridge and associate chaplain of St Edward King and Martyr in Cambridge. On several occasions, he has taught as visiting faculty at several colleges and universities in England and North America.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Catherine Pepinster</span> British writer and journalist

Catherine Pepinster is an English editor, historian, commentator and writer with a focus on theology, Catholic and Anglican ecumenism, church history, and religion and politics. She was the first female editor of The Tablet in the newspaper's 176-year history. In 2017 she published the book The Keys and the Kingdom: The British and the Papacy from John Paul II to Francis.

Andrew Paul Rumsey is a British Anglican bishop. Since January 2019, he has served as the Bishop of Ramsbury in the Church of England.

Thomas Henry Ambrose Mason is a retired Welsh Anglican priest: he was Archdeacon of Monmouth from 2013 until 2021.


  1. Robyn Lewis (6 December 2006). "Media Analysis: Christian mags in lifestyle change". PR Week. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  2. Handley, Paul (12 May 2017). "Last word". Church Times. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  3. Palmer, Bernard Gadfly for God London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1991 p. 197
  4. "The 50 most influential figures in the Anglican Church: 40-31". Retrieved 2022-04-03.
  5. 'Church Times marks 150th anniversary', BBC News, 10 February 2013
  6. "My faith in the Church of England".
  7. "Exclusive: A joint commitment to our neighbours overseas".
  8. "To bless and not to bless: Archbishop Welby in conversation".
  9. "Fed by grit and the Prayer Book".
  10. "Interview: Jeremy Vine, broadcaster and presenter".
  11. "A minister of the word".
  12. "Interview: Francis Spufford, writer and lecturer".
  13. "An illusion of miracles".
  14. "Learning the language of calling".
  15. "Awarded for literary bravery".
  16. "Joan Bakewell journalist and broadcaster".
  17. "Tom Holland interview: 'We swim in Christian waters'".
  18. "Church Times wins another award".
  19. "Anglican journalist receives award from the Countess of Wessex".
  20. "Margaret Holness receives Lambeth award".
  21. "The Church Times Podcast".
  22. "The Church Times Podcast". SoundCloud.
  23. "Vicky Beeching on her new book Undivided: Coming Out, Becoming Whole, and Living Free From Shame".
  24. "Rob Bell on life after Love Wins, preaching and comedy, Trump - and more".
  25. "John Gray talks to Nick Spencer about Seven Types of Atheism".
  26. "Podcast: Neil MacGregor and Sam Wells in conversation about Living with the Gods".
  27. "Tom Wright – Paul: a biography (Ep 49). Prof N.T. Wright talks on the podcast about his new book".
  28. "A Church Times new year letter from the editor".
  29. "Andrew Davison on Twitter".
  30. "Church Times: about us". Vimeo.
  31. "Church Times Festival of Faith and Literature".
  32. "Church Times Festival of Poetry".
  33. "Festival of Preaching".
  34. "What future does the parish have in the 21st century?".
  35. "Green Health Awards".
  36. "Cricket: Bristol to challenge London dominance in Church Times Cricket Cup final".
  37. Obituary: John Wale, The Guardian, 18 June 2008
  38. "Paul Vallely".
  39. "Malcolm Guite".
  40. "Andrew Brown".
  41. "Angela Tilby".
  42. "Angus Ritchie".
  43. "Eve Poole".
  44. "Mark Oakley".
  45. "A compelling story of transforming grace".
  46. "Paula Gooder".
  47. "Mark Vernon".
  48. "Lucy Winkett".
  49. "Nick Spencer".
  50. "Malcolm Doney".
  51. "Andrew Davison".
  52. "Sam Wells".
  53. "Not putting it all down to experience".
  54. "After the Fire: Finding words for Grenfell, by Alan Everett".
  55. Handley, Paul (12 May 2017). "Last word". Church Times. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  56. Palmer, Bernard, Gadfly for God, p34
  57. Scenes from a Clerical Life, A Vidler, p121
  58. Palmer, Bernard, Gadfly for God, p199
  59. Palmer, Bernard, Gadfly for God, p198
  60. Thornton, Ed (22 July 2011). "Wright has 'J. K. Rowling-plus' appeal, says SPCK" . Church Times . No. 7740. p. 4. ISSN   0009-658X . Retrieved 7 June 2014.