Welcome to St Paul's
Welcome to St Paul's


Rev'd Caroline Halmshaw was inducted at St Paul's on 24 July 2023. Before training for ordained ministry, her earlier career was in nursing and midwifery and after further study she worked in International Development in the charity sector. Her focus was on health programmes, especially maternal health and reproductive rights (SRHR). She held senior positions in the charity sector, her last role was at Plan UK. Caroline and her husband Rick both grew up in Radlett in Hertfordshire and have lived mainly in London and Brighton. although Caroline has also lived in Zimbabwe and travelled widely for work. 

Caroline's mother Stella is also a vicar, and gave a fascinating talk to the St Paul's congregation in September 2023, which gave us a bit more information about Caroline's background! You can download a copy of this below. 

Talk by Rev'd Stella Halmshaw.docx.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [53.8 KB]


St Paul's PCC (Parochial Church Council) are the group of volunteers whose role is to support the vicar and the church. They meet every two months to discuss church matters, including repairs to the church, finances and fundraising.  The role of Treasurer is currently a paid position occupied by Sally-Ann Feldman, Brian Feldman & Associates. Our Stewardship Secretary is Jackie Rayer and Electoral Roll Officer is Cecilia Thwaites. Contact details for the PCC and other church members are on the Contact Us page. If you would like to read the annual reports and financial statments for 2023 please download the documents below. 

Charlotte Welburn

Cecilia Thwaites


Sara Surtees

Coffee Club



Simon Surtees

Licensed Lay Minister and Deanery Synod Representative



Jane Theakston

Shelagh Allsop

Safeguarding Officer and Sidesperson

Bea Vickers

Youth Group



Carolyn Ashford-Russell

Deanery Synod representative, Sidesperson



Marian Armitage




Anusha Rajiyah




Clare Carter

Timothy Makower

Robert John van Exter

St Paul's 2023 Annual Report
St Paul's Annual Report 2023.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [272.3 KB]
St Paul's 2023 Accounts
St Paul's Accounts 2023.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [3.0 MB]

Tom Torley

Our organist is Tom Torley, who joined us in 2020 as a graduate from the Royal College of Music studying both piano and tuba. All well as directing our choir from the organ, he also plays for us in a tuba quartet with his musical friends.

Annabel Hughes-Parkinson

Annabel joined us in January 2024, working two mornings a week as our Church Administrator.




Getting involved in the local community is a huge part of who we are at St Paul's. We aim to offer something for everyone, whether it's joining us in our worship, taking part in one of our social groups or volunteering to help at one of our many events. All details are on the CONTACT US page. 

We are very proud of Pat Davies, one of the longest standing members of our congregation. Pat, who was 100 in June 2023, has been awarded the Légion d’Honneur, the highest French order of merit today for her work during the Second World War. Pat Davies was one of the 'Bletchley Girls', working at listening stations around the coast, eavesdropping on German naval radio transmissions and relaying the content to the code breakers at Bletchley Park. “It was interesting work – exciting and serious in equal measure. We didn’t know the significance of the messages we passed on, but we knew the work we were doing was important.”  The French Ambassador said the award was given for her "bravery and remarkable contributions to the liberation of our country. We are forever grateful for your commitment and sacrifices". Pat has also been granted The Freedom of the Borough by Hounslow Council. This is the highest honour that a council can bestow and the tradition is maintained as a means whereby public recognition is given to the recipients as an expression of the highest esteem in which they are held by the council and people of the borough. You can read about Pat's 100th birthday celebrations on the Chiswick W4 website here 


It was a great shock and sadness for everyone at St Paul's when Father Michael passed away in March 2024. Father Michael was our vicar between 1989 and 2022 and retired in July 2022. Many members of our community have been christened, confirmed or married by Michael, and all of us have many wonderful memories of the happy times we spent together at St Paul’s. As well as leading our worship for 32 years, Michael was an enthusiastic participant in concerts, book groups, quiz nights, supper parties, fetes and picnics and we have so much to thank him for. You can read an obitury for Father Michael in The Chiswick Calendar here and the eulogy read at his memorial service on 22 June 2024 by Simon Surtees is below as well as some pictures from the drinks in the church garden which followed the service.


It is a great privilege to find myself standing here today to remember Father Michael and to pay respects to his ministry on behalf of the congregation of St Paul’s Grove Park, the church to which he ministered from 1989 to July 2022. I will be honest, if I had thought that, when I first brought my daughter to Sunday School in the spring of 1991, I would be standing here as a Licensed Lay Minister in 2024, sixteen years after qualifying, it would have sounded fantastical and unrealistic. Equally, if he had thought that he would serve this parish for 33 years he would also be surprised. But Michael always had the ability to take people, and occasionally himself, by surprise.

When he came to St. Paul’s, he came as Priest-in-Charge, as the parish was then attached to St Nicholas’ Church and was under the Patronage of their vicar, then Patrick Tuft. The churchwardens at that time were Graham Suter and Mary Biddulph. The church was in the process of re-growth, and I know that Michael would want to pay tribute to that congregation who brought in families and started the Sunday School. He was coming up to London from his curacy in Jesmond in Newcastle, and I gained the impression that London had always been a target destination for him if nothing else because he would not necessarily need a car to get around as the idea of driving one never appealed to him. More importantly, the London Diocese had more churches than any other in the country and in terms of liturgical tradition was very broad based. And it is that broad based liturgical tradition that was at the centre of Michael’s ministry. By the time we started coming, the congregation was averaging around 35 – 45 people per week which, given the number of Anglican churches in Chiswick, is not bad. We had the Communion Books which remain the base of our Eucharist services still. We used Hymns Old & New as our staple hymn book. Any new vicar needs strong support and Michael had it from his churchwardens, plus John and Frances Eldridge, Bronte Burghardt, Michael and Caroline Morgan-Jones and Bill and Sheila White to name but a few. Michael was always conscious that the strength of the Church of England lay in its provision of many ways of coming to God through Jesus Christ and, in this, he was also ably supported by the then, Archdeacon of Middlesex, Timothy Raphael. St. Paul’s was developing a strong community and, again, with the support of Timothy Raphael, this was recognised when we became a parish in our own right with Michael as vicar, although still under the Patronage of St. Nicholas which remains today. Michael had one of the largest vicarages in the Kensington area with a beautiful garden. He didn’t have to allow its use as a parish resource, but he did. We had most of our PCC meetings there, he had lunch and dinner parties there and the grounds were used for picnics, fireworks displays on November 5th (always good fundraisers) church summer fetes, even allowing wedding marquees space when requested. There is no doubt that, during that time he gained the trust of the congregation and the community. Children were baptised, teenagers and adults came to confirmation, all of them encouraged and welcomed by Father Michael. Families felt safe. He was overjoyed when young people who had grown up in St. Paul’s came to be married there, my daughter, Celia amongst them. Those were special occasions and he made them special. And there were also the sad occasions when members of our church family died and we gathered as a parish to remember them, just as we are gathered here today.

When we came to St. Paul’s the organist and organiser of music was ready to retire. At that point Peter Duckworth, an excellent pianist, played for most services, and he developed a small group of singers who sang during Communion. When Peter moved on, we were lucky to have a new Chiswick resident, Mike Dixon to lead our music. Mike was then making his way as a Musical Director in the West End with the great support and encouragement of his friend Mike Reed who would himself become a great supporter of the parish. Father Michael was very good at noticing and identifying talent and giving it its head in pursuit of a variety of worship styles and family events. With his encouragement, Mike would go on to direct and perform family musicals sometimes with parts for Michael. These included Daniel JazzIt’s Cool in the FurnaceGodspell and Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. These productions gave young people their first chance of performance in public and brought families into the church. And no one who saw it will ever forget Michael taking the part of the Narrator in Godspell. We had poetry and music evenings in the vicarage as fundraising activities and, with Michael’s encouragement, we also had quiz nights.

More music ideas developed in the 90s, again with his encouragement. You’ve heard of Woodstock, what about Grovestock?! This was the initiative of our churchwarden at the time, Julian Tanner. The vicar’s garden became a local music festival! Young bands were given a chance to perform, and it also included Chiswick’s Got Talent allowing young people to compete against each other and be judged by experienced musicians. When Mike Dixon moved on, we had Michael’s friend Lionel Harrison to lead our music followed by Ian Stephenson and, then Robert Emery whose enterprising nature created more musical events and sustained the high standards we all aspired to. It was around this time that Mike Reed joined us. He was very well known as a Musical Director and Supervisor (still is!) and his vision for what was possible in our church inspired us all. With John Theakston, he produced outstanding musical performances and special concerts. Together they wrote and produced I Knew a Simple Soldier Boy to commemorate in 2014, the hundredth anniversary of the First World War and in 2018, a repeat to commemorate the cessation. Mike and John also produced and directed Rock in a Hard Place a musical based on the life of St. Paul. Since then, we have had Patryk Korzac and, now Tom Torley; both young and talented musicians who grew in confidence with Michael’s support. I labour the music side because its success was fundamental to the energy and life of the church that Michael was seeking to sustain. And these events reflected that, as well as reinforcing the spiritual reflection of the events they remembered and gave energy to the life of the parish. You could say that the last major event of Father Michael’s time here, the 150th Anniversary of the church’s foundation, was an appropriate culmination.

Through all this, Michael followed the church year diligently with Advent groups, Lent groups and Youth groups always allowing the use of the vicarage. On the fabric side, the Isis Room significantly improved the facilities we were able to offer to local groups wishing to hire the church.

“Yes there were times, he had a few: When he bit off more than he could chew.” Those times were when he let some of his strong opinions run away with him and when he did upset some. Also, as he would be the first to admit, Administration was never his strong point. But services were always well thought out and were always ready for Sundays. His sermons were scholarly, were always well prepared and referenced.

He was a great encourager to me. One year in the late 90s he said to me, just before Easter, “Simon, on the Sunday after Easter it is Low Sunday when we think about Doubting Thomas. To be honest I have been preaching on this for so long I’ve rather run out of things to say. I know you have experienced doubt on your journey of faith, and I was wondering if you would like to share your thoughts with us”? That was the start of a journey I never expected to take. I think he was surprised when, eventually, I offered myself for Lay Readership training. But we put it to the PCC; they agreed, and in 2004 I began my training. I think he was even more surprised when I completed it and was licenced in 2008. But he came to St Paul’s Cathedral that November and draped my blue scarf around my neck. We worked quite closely together but, and as many of us in the parish were aware, he could be a very private person. He didn’t like being too close. Occasionally he would let his hair down. I remember a New Year’s Eve party which we gave one year. One of our friends, at around 1.00 in the morning, felt a game of Charades coming on. I sensed his dread as we all agreed. We wrote down the names of musicals and opera. He drew Salome. Without shedding a layer there was no doubt what he was trying to describe, and we all wept with laughter at his performance and respected the spirit from which it came.

In the end he had had 33 years in this parish, living in a large vicarage and he was unwell. Whether he accepted this or not, this time he could not hide the difficulties he was having. Difficult decisions had to be made. His legacy was endangered. At the end, as at the beginning, he had two strong churchwardens whose priority had to be future of the parish. He never lost his love of our church and leaves a strong platform for development. The first reading we had today, St. Luke’s account of the parable of The Prodigal Son, was Michael’s favourite bible story; many of us remember Michael leading us through Henri Nouwen’s meditation on it. But our Gospel was also a passage he loved, and he always encouraged it to be read at the many funerals he took, including that of his own mother. The translation we heard today speaks of God’s house having "many rooms". I actually prefer the translation “many resting-places” and it is fitting to conclude with that image. In biblical times, whenever one went on a journey it was the custom to send servants ahead to prepare a resting-place for the party to rest if the journey was long or arduous. Overall, throughout his 33 years of ministry at St. Paul’s, Michael served this parish well. His thoughtful sermons, his aesthetic awareness, and his encouragement of others, created resting places for us to be with God, to listen to God’s word, to pray, and to sing God’s praise. He is now at rest and may he rest in peace. AMEN


Father Michael retired in July 2022 after 33 years at St Paul's. Hi final service was an emotional occasion with wonderful music from Tom Torley's brass group and the choir, and heartfelt tributes from members of the congregation including Caroline and Mike Morgan-Jones, Simon Surtees, Stephanie White and Bea Vickers. Warm words were spoken of how Michael's arrival in 1989 had felt like "a breath of fresh air" and how much good work he had done for our parish over the years. He was presented with a photo album of his time at St Paul's as well as vouchers from Trailfinders, John Lewis and M&S. After the service there were drinks in the vicarage garden. Pictures are below, as are the tributes from Caroline and Mike, Stephanie and Bea. 

A Tribute to Michael  Riley from Mike and Caroline Morgan-Jones

Our association with St Paul’s Church goes back a very long way and  we would like to mark the occasion by sending our love and very good wishes to you as you now take early retirement. Many of you  here today will not know who we are, because we went to live in the Salisbury area almost 20 years ago, but we have kept in close touch with Michael himself and indeed various members of the current congregation, and kept abreast of goings on at St Paul’s.  


When Michael arrived in the late 80s, it was the dawning of a new era.  Under the previous incumbent, the congregation had gradually shrunk to perhaps 10 or 12 mostly elderly and Michael was like a breath of fresh air.  He was very active, inclusive and generous, the vicarage and garden were opened up to us all and word soon got round that things were different at St Paul’s and the congregation gradually grew.  One of his skills  in the early days was finding the appropriate people to help him develop his ideas – for instance Pat Davies and I helped to launch a Parish Magazine – a total innovation for St Paul’s.  


Michael married  Mike and myself in October 1990 and over the years has christened four of our grandchildren /step grandchildren.  I planted the Magnolia Stellata in the garden in 1981 where my late husband’s ashes are buried, along with those of many more people whose ashes are buried in the bed, so you can see our connection with St Paul’s remains very strong.


Sadly the passing years have taken their toll,  as they have on all of us and a new home and way of life  beckons you.  We shall keep in touch with you and wish you all happiness and joy in your new life – and we shall also watch with great interest the developments at St Pauls! Mike and I wish you a well deserved retirement and thank you  for all you did for us and for all that you have done particularly in the early years to  transform a failing Parish to what St. Paul’s Church is today.


A Tribute to Michael Riley from Stephanie White
Roderick and I have been worshiping here for over fifty years! During that time, we have seen two vicars and a period of interregnum, hopefully a longer one than the one which we are facing now!


Last week, our gospel reading was about Martha and Mary: the contrast between a practical and a reflective faith. I am definitely a busy-bee of a Martha, but I recognise my own need to be around the Marys of this world whose faith is more profound. I have definitely found that stable faith in Father Michael’s ministry.


I’d like to thank him today for three things: his open church; his tolerance; and his generosity of spirit.


Open church means two things to me: firstly, the fact that the church itself is physically open each day; and secondly the fact Father Michael has allowed it to be used for so many things which benefit the congregation and the wider community. Think of all the wonderful concerts we have had here, the musical evenings and the personal celebrations he has allowed.  We held our fortieth wedding anniversary here!


It is quite a gift to be strong in your own beliefs, yet tolerant and open to other patterns of behaviour and belief. How many of us are here in this congregation today because of that tolerance? There are ex Methodists and Catholics among our regular worshippers and often visitors from another faith entirely, who find this a welcoming community. Father Michael has demonstrated the value of trying to see the best in people and show them loving  kindness rather than be too ready to pass judgement. I am personally grateful to him for the help he has given to refugee friends of mine.


Finally, Father Michael  has been very generous both with his own time and with his personal space. When we come to pray for the sick in church, I am reminded of his second ministry, caring for people at the Convent nursing home. When  I look through old photos, I remember how we have always been free to use the vicarage itself and the garden for church events and private celebrations. Youth group members may remember the dens they built in the shrubbery!


We have been very lucky in our vicar and let us hope that Father Michael will be equally lucky in the new life which awaits him.


A Tribute to Father Michael from Bea Vickers

I would like to say a massive thank you to you Michael, from all of us of course, but especially from me and my family for your ministry to us for these last 15 years. It seems like a wonderful co-incidence that the 150th aniverary celebrations are ending with your retirement, as it does feel as if the last six weeks have also been for you. The concerts, the Flower Festival, the Comedy Night; what a great way to end your job! 


It's very hard to sum up what you have meant to us all, and particuarly to me personally. There have been times when we were chatting in your kitchen when it felt like I was with an old friend. Sometimes when we were planning Youth Group together, it felt a bit as if we were colleagues. When I came to you with some very private worries  - as I know many of us have - then it felt as if you were my therapist (and for me that's quite a strange role reversal!) When you took my sons, first Sam and then three years later Joe, for their confirmation classes, teaching them the architecture of our faith, you were a wise and trusted teacher. But when you led the service and stood with me by my mum's coffin, saying the prayers for the dead, you took the role that no one else in my life over the last 15 years could ever fill - that of my priest.


It is a unique relationship between a vicar and his or her congregation and we have been privileged to have a vicar who is as reliable, good-humoured, wise and (as Stephanie has said) tolerant as you. You are also very modest, and I imagine you're hating this! However, I'm afraid you will have to bear us saying goodbye to you because you will leave an enormous hole here at St Paul's which I promise you no one else will quite be able to fill.


Time and the seasons will pass of course, both in this gorgeous church and in beautiful Grove Park. And God willing, we will find a new priest. But we will never forget you. Maybe in years to come, some words from one of your sermons will come into our minds, or maybe we'll remember just how loud your singing of a favourite hymn could sound when you forgot to turn off your microphone!


So, good luck Father Michael. Go well in Bromley, enjoy your new life and remember; never forget to have breakfast!

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