St Mary at the Elms



St Mary at the Elms is an Anglican parish church in the heart of the commercial centre of Ipswich. The church serves a lively congregation and provides daily a place for contemplation, prayer and worship for anyone visiting or working in the area.

Our Anglo-Catholic tradition values the sacramental life of the church, adhering strongly to doctrine such as the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the continuity of the apostolic orders of Bishop, Priest and Deacon. A significant stress on liturgy and worship - performed in order to maintain the beauty of holiness - makes worship in an Anglo-Catholic church an experience which is intended to appeal to one's whole person - to heart as well as head, to senses as well as intellect.

The parish, which is in the diocese of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich, is affiliated to Forward In Faith and the Society of Saint Wilfred & Saint Hilda (see below) although many members of the congregation hold different views on the ministry of women.  We are an inclusive church and aspire to make all visitors welcome.

Priest in Charge:        Fr John Thackray

Churchwardens:         Mr Hugh Pierce

                                   Mrs Celia Bush

Assistant Priests:        Fr Paul Hamlet

                                    Fr John Burrows


The church is affiliated to Forward in Faith and the Society of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda; the PCC has passed a resolution requesting alternative Episcopal oversight.. 

This resolution makes provision for those who have theological reservations about the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate within the Church of England. It ensures that a male priest will always preside at mass and puts the care of the parish under +Norman, Bishop of Richborough and Honorary Bishop of the diocese of Saint Edmundsbury & Ipswich.