It has been nearly five years since the Anglican and Roman Catholic communities in Padstow made the decision to share St Petroc’s Church and the arrangement is working better than anyone could have hoped for.

The town’s Roman Catholic congregation had used St Petroc’s Church for many summers when they outgrew their own church. However, it was following a survey on the Roman Catholic Church which highlighted that one side of the building was falling out and would need extensive work, that a conversation about sharing a church took place between St Petroc’s Revd Canon Chris Malkinson and Father Keith Mitchell from the Catholic church.

St Petroc’s is the only church this side of Gloucester that has this arrangement. Initially there were a number of legalities for both the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches to work through, in particular with the Aumbry, a recessed cabinet Anglicans used for storing sacred vessels and the Tabernacle, a fixed box the Roman Catholic Church had. Although there are different teachings on the Blessed Sacrament, it was agreed both congregations would pray together before the Blessed Sacrament while respecting the different doctrines.


Revd Canon Chris Malkinson with Father Ciaran McGuiness in St Petroc’s Church

St Petroc’s Anglican minister Revd Canon Chris Malkinson said: “The arrangement is absolutely perfect. There really haven’t been any problems. You would think that there would be the occasional blip but we just haven’t had any. I would definitely recommend it to any parishes in a similar situation.”

He added: “I believe it has helped to give the Roman Catholic congregation a focus. They weren’t able to keep their church open all day but we can at St Petroc’s and they really appreciate being able to pray at any time of the day.”

Father Ciaran McGuiness, from the Roman Catholic Church agrees. “I am absolutely delighted with the sharing arrangements at St Petroc’s, Padstow. It is a wonderful privilege to be able to worship in such a beautiful and ancient church, knowing our ancestors in the faith have worshiped for centuries.

It has brought us all closer together. We Catholics really appreciate the spirit of unity and fellowship in Padstow.”

Revd Canon Chris Malkinson is also pleased with the arrangement both practically as well as spiritually. The Roman Catholic Church pay a sum each year which helps with the maintenance of the church and buildings, and having two congregations using the church means they have double the efforts for fundraising and community events.

Five years on the arrangement is continuing to work well and Revd Chris says there have been surprisingly few problems. “In fact, throughout five years of the twice yearly council meetings, the only disagreement that has come about was about a notice board!”