is a Church of England parish church
A parish church in the Church of England is the church which acts as the religious centre for the people within the smallest and most basic Church of England administrative region, known as a parish.-Parishes in England:...
in the centre of Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...
, in the Deanery and Diocese of Oxford
-History:The Diocese of Oxford was created in 1541 out of part of the Diocese of Lincoln.In 1836 the Archdeaconry of Berkshire was transferred from the Diocese of Salisbury to Oxford...
. The church is on the street named St Aldate's
St Aldate's is a street in central Oxford, England. It is named after Saint Aldate of whom little is known, although it has also been suggested that the name is a corruption of 'old gate', referring to the south gate in the former city walls. St Aldate's Church is on the west side of the street, in...
, opposite Christ Church
Christ Church or house of Christ, and thus sometimes known as The House), is one of the largest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England...
and next door to Pembroke College
Pembroke College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England, located in Pembroke Square. As of 2009, Pembroke had an estimated financial endowment of £44.9 million.-History:...
. The church has a large congregation and has a staff team of about 35 which includes clergy, pastoral and administrative staff. The offices of the Rector and other members of staff are at 40 Pembroke Street.
The site has been used for Christian worship dating back to the Saxon era
Anglo-Saxon England refers to the period of the history of that part of Britain, that became known as England, lasting from the end of Roman occupation and establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the 5th century until the Norman conquest of England in 1066 by William the Conqueror...
. It may have been one of three churches within the monastic precinct of Saint Frideswide. The first major constructions, in the 12th century, were the nave
In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral basilica and church architecture, the nave is the central approach to the high altar, the main body of the church. "Nave" was probably suggested by the keel shape of its vaulting...
In church architecture, the chancel is the space around the altar in the sanctuary at the liturgical east end of a traditional Christian church building...
, the central part of the building as it now stands. Since then the church has been extended and remodeled at various times. The original tower built during the 13th century was entirely rebuilt in 1873.
The south and north aisles - either side of the nave - were added in the 14th and 15th centuries respectively in order to accommodate the growing population of Oxford.
The modern church was developed during the nineteenth century, with a remodeling of the interior in 1832. Most notably, during the 46 year ministry of Canon Alfred Christopher, a highly regarded leader from 1859–1905, the north and south chancel aisles and the vestry were added.
Further remodeling was completed in 2002. The pews were removed to create more seating room for a growing congregation, under-floor heating, carpet, Jerusalem stone
Jerusalem stone is a name applied to various types of pale limestone, dolomite and dolomitic limestone, common in and around Jerusalem that have been used in building since ancient times...
tiles, wood flooring, and a state of the art AV system with projector screens and television monitors were installed to create a modern venue for a living church.
Most noticeably, the North Wall was knocked open to create a spacious glass vestibule that opened the church up to the main road of St Aldate’s Street. In addition, the graveyard at the front has been landscaped to open up a garden at the front of the church for tourists and passers-by.
St Aldate's is a parish in the Deanery and Diocese of Oxford and therefore comes under the administrative care of the Bishop of Oxford. The Church is governed locally by the Church Leadership (clergy and lay ministers) and the Parochial Church Council
The parochial church council , is the executive body of a Church of England parish.-Powers and duties:Two Acts of Parliament define the powers and duties of PCCs...
, in line with the Church Representation Rules as laid out in the Synodical Government Measure (1969).
Most of the congregation live outside the Parish. Members are drawn from throughout the city and surrounding villages, as far as Grove
Grove is a village and civil parish on Letcombe Brook about north of Wantage in the Vale of White Horse. It was part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire.-Parish churches:...
Upper Heyford may refer to:*Upper Heyford, Northamptonshire*Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire*RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire...
and north towards Banbury
Banbury is a market town and civil parish on the River Cherwell in the Cherwell District of Oxfordshire. It is northwest of London, southeast of Birmingham, south of Coventry and north northwest of the county town of Oxford...
. Due to the nature of academic life in Oxford, the congregation is very fluid and it is estimated that up to 30% change each year.
There is a range of ages and stages in life in the congregation, with a number of older people, young families, families with teenagers and single people, youth and students. During University terms up to 400 students attend the Sunday services, and during the vacations many tourists and visitors join the congregation.
St Aldate's encourages members of the congregation to be involved in the various aspects of the church life and ministry areas and relies heavily on a large number of volunteers who help in the following areas: prayer, administration, catering, maintenance, counselling, stewarding and teaching.
Services are held at 10.30am, 6pm and 8.15pm on Sundays, with Holy Communion celebrated regularly at each service. The worship at each service is informal, with songs, hymns, liturgy and sermon notes displayed on video screens. Worship is led each week by a band consisting of different groups of musicians overseen by one full time and one part time Worship Pastor.
The morning service attracts around 500-550 worshippers, including over 100 children. There is a thriving Children’s Church which meets in the Parish Centre, although the children are part of the main service for the first part. Around 500 attend the evening service. The Late Service (8.15pm) has been running since Sept 2007 and is more informal in terms of set up, with no chairs and creative lighting. 300-400 regularly attend this rapidly growing service.
On Wednesdays at 11.00 am there is a further service of Holy Communion held in the Parish Centre. Up to 30, mainly elderly, people attend this more traditional-style service which uses the Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...
Catacombs Youth and Prayer Centre
In October 2009 the Catacombs building at 12 Littlegate Street was re-opened by the Bishop of Oxford
The Bishop of Oxford is the diocesan bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Oxford in the Province of Canterbury; his seat is at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford...
. Following extensive redevelopment, the ground floor is now a youth centre and the basement has been dedicated as a prayer room for Oxford. In March 2010 the Oxford Prayer Room hosted the first 24-7 week of prayer open to all churches in Oxford, with representatives from over 24 churches attending over the course of the week.
In 2006 St Aldate's helped to coordinate an event in Oxford that brought together over 30 churches in the city for an open air service in Broad Street on a Sunday morning in June. This event known as Love Oxford sought to ‘declare God’s praises’, ‘pray for the peace of the city’ and ‘hear the word of God preached’. The event has run every year since and in 2009 moved to South Park
South Park is an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central television network. Intended for mature audiences, the show has become famous for its crude language, surreal, satirical, and dark humor that lampoons a wide range of topics...
on Headington Hill
Headington Hill is a hill in the east of Oxford, England, in the suburb of Headington. The Headington Road road goes up the hill leading out of the city...
. About 4,000 people gather for the open air service.
Channel 4 documentary
In June 2009, Channel 4 broadcast a documentary, Revelations - How to find God
, on the subject of the Alpha Course held at St Aldate's earlier that year. The programme is one of eight episodes in the series and was made by Jon Ronson, who was "afforded complete access" and compiled the final product from around 120 hours of footage.