A Living Tradition of Faith

2009 and beyond
Diocese of London (Fulham Jurisdiction)

• The story so far
• Tradition
• Population
• Church School
• Buildings
• Method

The Story so far

There has been a Christian worshipping community on this site for over a thousand years. In many ways the Parish Church has been the focus of village life in Hayes down the ages.

In the last century the commercial centre of the village moved a mile south, leaving Old Hayes in a semi-rustic oasis amidst suburban sprawl.

As the population increased so four daughter churches were spawned, the last of which gained full parochial status in 2004.


In tradition as well as location S Mary’s has withstood the chances and changes of recent times. The ethos is Catholic offering daily Mass, formal liturgy and traditional music with a robed choir. The atmosphere is relaxed and devout. The congregation is thoroughly and entirely mixed coming from all age groups, socio-economic backgrounds and ethnic origins. The Electoral Roll currently stands at about 290. The parish is currently under the pastoral care of the Bishop of Fulham under the London Plan.


The demography of the area has been rapidly changing over recent years. Historically the largely white population has found employment in light industry. The expansion of Heathrow Airport and the influx of other cultural communities from Asia, the Caribbean, North Africa and the former Eastern European block, have both engendered considerable degrees of change in the area.

Church School

There has been a church school in the parish for over a century; the links remain very strong with many staff and children attending the church, and a number of the congregation serving on the Governing Body. There is a weekly Sunday School and several uniformed organisations linked to the parish. The links with the local community are many and diverse.


The Church is a grade 2* listed building which is in reasonable repair although a constant drain on resources; the Parish Hall was built in 1911. Much of the congregation’s energy is spent in maintaining and restoring the church although recent bequests have somewhat eased the pressure. The Hall is widely used by both parochial and community groups, although its location (across a busy road from the church) and its increasing dilapidation (estimates for full repair including removal of asbestos, etc. stand at over £1m) are giving increasing cause for concern.


The Church of England asked all churches to create action plans to focus vision and purpose.

S. Mary’s PCC met with Fr Neil Evans on June 7th 2006 to discuss the formulation of a Mission Action Plan for S Mary’s Hayes. Subsequent to that meeting the Standing Committee met on July 24th and brought to the PCC on August 1st a number of suggestions as to how best consult with the wider parish community.

On September 24th, our Harvest Festival, the congregation gathered at one Mass which was followed by a shared Harvest-tide lunch in the Church Hall.

The Rector, in place of a homily made a short presentation in which he invited the congregation to outline both the strengths and aspirations of the parish.

Small groups then formed for discussion, each facilitated by a member of the PCC. In conclusion the Rector summarised the findings of the groups and notes were taken of their discussions.

S. Mary’s Mission Action Plan grew out of these consultations with the whole parish community. The same process of consultation with parishioners and PCC was carried out in autumn 2008 resulting in this updated Mission Action Plan.

Hopes and Dreams

• Short Term
• Mid Term
• Long Term

Continuing discussions since the Mission Action Plan was first written have resulted in a number of goals which are constantly under review. Some are easily achievable, some a possibility, and some a distant aspiration.

Short Term Goals

• To enable the wider congregation to benefit from the opportunities to socialize and to work together. Parish pilgrimages and trips are well supported and fund-raising events efficiently managed but it is clear that activities should include more than the faithful nucleus in such events. In response to the financial state of the Church of England, the reduction of income to the Parish and increases in Common Fund contribution an increasing number of fund raising events have been organised. These play a vital social and pastoral role in parish life.  The wider congregation continue to be encouraged to join in. Such events will continue to be organised.

• To continue to raise the profile of Church activities in the local community and within the worshipping community.  This will be achieved by more external publicity; continuing to develop the successful website and greater encouragement for more members of the congregation to contribute to the magazine the Parish Magazine, which enjoys a wide distribution. Regular newsletter will also be produced and distributed to all on the electoral roll, close links have been established with the local radio station (Hayes FM) and we will continue to build on this. We will also continue to invite local celebrities to open our Fair-on-the-Green in July.

• To complete the decoration of the interior of the Church thus making the building more welcoming and boosting the morale of the worshipping community. In 2007/8 the Chancel and south aisles were restored to former glory. The Nave and North Aisle walls remain to be decorated and we aim to restore the wall painting of S Christopher.

• A short term goal is also to re-establish the Creche at the 10am Mass on Sunday. This will require volunteers to run the Creche each week and providing speakers in the vestry to relay the service. Providing Creche facilities may encourage younger families to attend S. Mary’s make the Church more welcoming to the younger age group.

• Welcoming new people to S. Mary’s is a vital part of our ministry. We intend to establish a small group of volunteers who will acts as ‘meeters and greeters’ to welcome anyone new to the Church. This group will be in addition to sidesmen.

• ‘Friends of S. Mary’s’ fulfils an important role as a focal point for restoration activities at S. Mary’s. We aim to re-establish the charity and to increase publicity and membership. The aims of the charity and its very existence will be more widely publicised to the people of Hayes.

• As well as aiming to improve the financial health of the Parish and improve the state of its buildings, the spiritual health of the congregation and the wider community in Hayes must be addressed. This of course, is very much dependent on the number of clergy and trained lay workers in the Parish. Currently we have one Full-Time Priest and no trained lay workers. The Parish would like to see commitment from the Diocese to providing a curate at s. Mary’s. We also wish to increase the number of occasions when the ‘Uniformed‘ organisations attend Mass on Sundays. These organisations include, Scouts, Beavers and Cubs. The introduction of Family services or Children led services is also to be investigated.

Mid-Term Goals

• To increase the involvement of S. Mary’s in the wider Church community. There is a distinct feeling among parishioners, that the parish through its tradition and Episcopal jurisdiction is isolated from the wider church in many ways. To address this situation members of the PCC have agreed to serve on synods at Deanery and Diocesan levels. It is also hoped that visiting clergy may be able to provide a broader perspective than the Rector is able.

• To improve the liturgical use of the building. The complete restoration of the building is dependant on raising funds additional to those required for the Common Fund. The positioning of the font and the choir seating are seen as being areas of potential improvement to the liturgical use of the building. A number of initiatives have been suggested of additional fund-raising and financial appeals to commercial and charitable bodies.

• To train the laity to undertake pastoral roles in the church and local community. A number of schools now visit the church as part of their National Curriculum. The training of laity in the areas of youth work and pastoral visiting is an area that must be developed in order to allow the church to develop and continue to proclaim the Gospel of Christ and to continue to serve the people of Hayes. The possibilities of training with the Willesden and/or Fulham structures will be addressed and discussed. Part of the mission to Youth in the parish would be establishment of a Youth Club and/or a discussion forma for teenagers and young adults to explore and discuss their faith and needs.

• Music plays an important part in the worshipping life at S. Mary’s but provision of music is left to a small core of people. This needs to be widened and the Parish encouraged to openly discuss and become involved in providing music as part of worship. In particular the future of the robed choir will be addressed and the music provision for ‘Family Services’.

• To complete the decoration of the interior of the Church thus making the building more welcoming and boosting the morale of the worshiping community. In 2007/8 the Chancel and south aisle walls were restored to former glory. The Nave and North Aisle walls remain to be decorated and we aim to restore the wall painting of S. Christopher.

Long Term Goals

• To develop the site of the current Church Hall. The Hall has always been one of our strongest links with the wider community and the parish is anxious that these linked should be maintained and developed. The future of the Church Hall needs careful consideration. In location, condition, and provision, the present building presents a number of problems. The Diocesan Property Department has already been involved in informal explorations of the future possibilities. It is hoped that with their co-operation a way will be found that will offer facilities more appropriate to the present and future needs of the congregation and the wider parish community. Meeting Rooms for various sized groups are much needed in the wider community. Ancillary provisions of office and rehearsal/robing space are also cited.

• To find ways and means of increasing the number of clergy and/or lay workers in the parish.  The present disparity over staffing between various parishes in the Deanery gives continued cause for concern. It is strongly to be hoped that some additional help, both lay and ordained may be found in the future to assist in the expansion of the church’s ministry in the wider parish.

In Conclusion

Our Vision

• The vision of the parish is to provide a stable and sympathetic worshipping community within a traditional setting.

• There is also a need to address the social needs of the 21st century making adequate provision for the changing needs of the area. These will undoubtedly include facilities for Mother and Toddlers groups, young people and the Elderly Isolated as well as for uniformed organisations and the social and administrative needs of a modern parish.

• The PCC is actively committed to exploring ways in which the vibrant tradition of Faith which has been lived here down the centuries can continue and flourish in response both to the Gospel and to contemporary demands.

• To continue to provide through ‘A Living Tradition of Faith’ a focus of Christian Worship in Hayes and to proclaim the Gospel of Christ.