Sunday 19 June 2022: a red-letter day in the life of All Saints, Shrewsbury, and a day of encouragement and celebration for the Church.

We celebrated the ordination to the Priesthood of our curate, Fr James Walton, by Bishop Tony Robinson (Bishop of Wakefield). It was a privilege and joy to welcome Bishop Sarah (Area Bishop of Shrewsbury), Archdeacon Paul Thomas, clergy from Society parishes in the
Diocese of Lichfield, and from the parishes of our deanery, to join the All Saints’ Church Family for this great occasion in the life of the parish.


We have much to thank God for: the support and encouragement of the Bishops of Lichfield and Shrewsbury, and the Archdeacon of Salop, led to my appointment as full-time parish priest in 2020 (following some years of a part-time priest), and last year to the arrival of Fr James as assistant curate. All Saints is the only Society Parish in Shropshire and Herefordshire, and it is a tribute to the ways in which the Diocese of Lichfield lives out ‘mutual flourishing’ that resources are made available to encourage and enable renewed mission and outreach in this traditional Catholic parish.

All Saints serves Castlefields and Ditherington. It is an urban area on the north side of Shrewsbury, close to the railway station (on the ‘wrong’ side of the tracks!), with a population of just under 6,000. Among the most deprived in the country, the community includes social housing (mainly in Ditherington) and a significant proportion of single parent households.

Built in 1879 to provide a church for local workers in the Flaxmill, railway and industry, the church is surrounded on all sides by terrace housing. This site was chosen so that local families could walk to church; a brass plaque inside the porch proclaims proudly that ‘the seating in this church is free and unrestricted for ever’.


Red-letter days are, of course, followed by ‘ordinary time’. In the words of Fr James: ‘…from this weekend comes not only encouragement for me – as it spurs me on into a lifelong ministry devoted to Christ – but also encouragement for all of us as a Parish; we have seen our true potential of how we can worship the Lord and invite others to do likewise, and I hope and pray over these coming years, we may all share in the ambition of continuing what has been started this past weekend.’