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Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields to be next Bishop of Salisbury

News St Martin – Talking Points

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields to be next Bishop of Salisbury

St Martin-in-the-Fields welcomes the appointment of our Vicar the Reverend Nicholas Holtam to succeed the Right Reverend Dr David Stancliffe to be the Bishop of Salisbury.

The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam outside Salisbury CathedralNick Holtam will leave St Martin’s on 10 July and be ordained and consecrated as a bishop by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the summer.

Nicholas Holtam became the Vicar of St Martin’s in September 1995.  For sixteen inspirational years, he has led us through significant progress and change.  The church is thriving and the English speaking and Chinese speaking congregations have grown substantially; visitor numbers now exceed 700,000 each year. The life of the church is supported by the business which extends the ministry of hospitality and welcome, and whose annual turnover is now more than £3.5m.  A key achievement has been to lead the organisation through our £36m Renewal Project, which began in 2005 and will finish this year.  The Annual BBC Radio 4 St Martin-in-the-Fields Christmas Appeal – for work with homeless people and those in great need all over the country – has grown from £220,000 in the mid 1990s to £1.5m today. These achievements are underpinned by his gifts as a kind, wise and prayerful parish priest. 

Revd Holtam said:  “Being the Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields through this period of change and renewal has been deeply fulfilling. The Renewal Project was achieved by a very big team and I am grateful to everyone who has been part of such an achievement.  As a family we have been immensely privileged to belong to this community. Our four children, now adults, were aged 12-6 years old when we moved here.  For them to grow up and live in Trafalgar Square has been extraordinary. The present team, clergy and lay, is as good as it gets so I am sure St Martin’s will continue to flourish. Now it is time for me to pass on the Vicar’s baton that was handed on to me from Geoffrey Brown and all our predecessors.”

The Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres said: “Nicholas has made a significant contribution to the Diocese of London having spent most of his 30 years of ministry here. During the last 16 years at St Martin-in-the-Fields he has continued to build up the parish’s public ministry, not least in the renewal of the buildings, while nurturing the many regular and visiting members of his congregation. Furthermore, he has never let us forget that the church also exists for the benefit of its non-members, especially the marginalised, the oppressed and those who have fallen on hard times. He will bring this substantial experience to the Diocese of Salisbury and we assure him of our continued support and prayers as he prepares to take up this new role.” 

The foundation stone of the present church of St Martin-in-the-Fields was laid by the then Bishop of Salisbury in 1721. It is the parish church of Buckingham Palace and Downing Street as well as of many of London’s homeless people. Its popular Café in the Crypt, concerts, shop and events business extends the ministry of the church commercially, creating a sustainable community of church, charity and commerce. St Martin’s is a cosmopolitan community with English and Chinese speaking congregations and strong links across the Anglican Communion. It is the original home of religious broadcasting and has a unique relationship with the BBC.  St Martin’s has recently completed an award-winning buildings renewal, “for the common good in service of humanity to the greater glory of God”.

The whole of the St Martin’s community sends very best wishes to Nick and Helen Holtam and their family as they prepare to move to a new home and new role in a very different context. We look forward to building on Nick’s hard work and inspirational leadership as we take this iconic church into the future.

ENDS

For further information contact julie.emig@smitf.org or churchwardens@smitf.org. Telephone 020 7766 1100.