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View across the valley from Rostherne


49 Vicars and counting


With 9 Services a week, there is something for everyone

Who, What, Where and When


We’re delighted that you’d like to find out more about us, St Mary’s with St Luke’s, Bowdon. The Churches in our Parish represent a continuous representation of faith in our community since 609 AD. During this time we have seen many changes, yet the commitment to our faith remains.

St Mary’s is the parish church and St Luke’s its daughter church—both serving the parish of Bowdon on the leafy southern fringe of Manchester. We are a broad, inclusive and multi-faceted family whose members are blessed with a remarkable array of talents. Generous giving has enabled some of the exciting developments we describe on this website.

For some years now we have pursued our aspiration to be a community of worshipping disciples on a mission. Like all mission statements, it only has value if there is real meaning behind the words and it actually shapes who we are and what we do.

Our mission is to know and share Christ’s love so effectively that we grow in numbers, in the depth of our faith and understanding, in the joy of our worship, in the strength of our church community and in the power of our outreach to the wider community. 

The combination of accepting people where they are and active engagement with them underlies what we are as a parish and what people value about being members of our church. It feeds our eagerness to foster a diversity of styles of worship, our passion for inclusiveness, our desire for unity and togetherness.

Please browse the sections below to find out more about our Churches, the people who make them what they are and what it takes to maintain the Parish.

Our Ministry and Mission Team

Known generally as the M & M Team, it was formed earlier this year from the Ministry Team and the Parish Development Committee, and has responsibility for leading our congregations and running our church groups. There are 12 key people in the team which is chaired by the Vicar (see below) and at present includes one other licensed clergyman:

Revd Ian Rumsey BSc Our new Vicar for the Parish of St Mary the Virgin with St Luke’s., the , BA was inducted on Tuesday 21st June, 2016.

Ian and Colleen (photo: Katharine Perera)

Revd Jess Piper who is our curate. Jess joined us recently and is leading and preaching in all parts of our parish as well as being involved in many areas of ministry.

John is a Reader who supports the organisation of Sunday worship in St Luke’s.

Julia is a part-time Parish Development Worker who leads the Zone2 congregation, the organisation of all-age worship at St Mary’s and First Steps. Her children’s ministry also includes links with Bowdon Church School, Bowdon Pre-School and toddler groups.

Kirsten is a part-time Parish Development Worker looking after our schools ministry.  She is also  studying for an MA in Christian Leadership and Theology at St Mellitus.

Michael is our Director of Music and Choir Master and a member of the Liturgy Committee encouraging the promotion of traditional worship.

Reader Emeriti  –  Alan is our Reader Emeriti with Permission to Officiate, who still contributes to worship leadership, home communions and pastoral care.

Our Places of Worship

St Mary’s, Bowdon

The present church was completed in 1860 Built at the height of the industrial prosperity in the North West. it is probably the fifth to stand on the site and replaced the previous 16th Century Church which was felt to be insufficient for the needs of the aspiring and affluent cotton merchant community of Bowdon.

A fragment of a SAXON CROSS recovered during restoration work suggests that there has been a place of Christian worship in Bowdon from the 8th century and an entry in the DOMESDAY BOOK clearly records a ʻchurch on the hillʼ at Bowdon in 1086.

Please feel free to visit our church, whether it’s to worship, for a place of sanctuary where you can refresh your spirit or to simply enjoy the wonderful surroundings we look forward to welcoming you.

St Mary’s church offers a place of sanctuary: the beauty and holiness of the building can draw us to an encounter with the spiritual. Every corner of the current church, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2010, is filled with symbols that tell a story of God’s presence.

St Luke’s, Bowdon Vale

St Luke’s, Vicarage Lane – a more intimate place to worship and a focus for community activities.

St Lukeʼs is thriving. In the past year there has been consolidation and growth with a number of young couples and other individuals, with and without children, continuing to worship regularly at St Lukeʼs in addition to the core members. Some have attended Exploring Christianity courses and others attend the menʼs breakfast. Kids’ Church is bursting out of the back room. It is very well led and well attended with responsibilities shared among several of the women and men! The S-club, for children in year 3 and above, meets in the Methodist Hall because of the shortage of space at St Luke’s.

There is a high degree of lay involvement with lay members contributing readings and prayers to all services and occasionally assisting at Communion. This will continue and it is to be hoped that more members will assist in aspects of the worship. We share a number of services at Easter and Christmas with our Methodist friends.

To enquire about using the Hall, to find out more about worship or a baptism, please contact the Parish Office on 0161 929 1537.

Bowdon Parish Centre

In 2007 after some years of fund raising the Bishop of Chester opened our brand new Parish Centre next to St Mary’s.  The centre contains two large halls and one smaller, a kitchen and the Parish Office.  Staff and volunteers in the office extend a welcome to everyone who drops in, and the Parish Centre has become a central part of community life.

The building is used by over 40 different groups and 500 people each week, including Bowdon Pre-school, and is home to the more contemporary Zone2 service.  The first 30 minutes is all-age focused with songs, prayers, a memory verse and film clips; then the children move into their groups while the adult and teenage part of the service continues with preaching and more worship.

To enquire about using the Hall or to find out more about worship, please contact the Parish Office on 0161 929 1537.


Click on the image below to see an incredible 360 degree tour of St Mary’s.

When loaded, click and drag the mouse to move around the interior and exterior of our wonderful church.

Styles of Worship

Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals


Many Parents seek Baptism for their children, because the experience of having a child is more profound than any other and they start to think about what life is really about. “It suddenly hit me that life was never going to be the same again.” A child can connect you to your community in a way you have not previously felt connected, a baptism can symbolise that connection.

“The thought of the tiny flicker of a candle in all the chaos was what kept me going. It served as a reminder that God chose and loved me unconditionally long before I knew him.”

Baptisms are offered by appointment, both at the Parish Church and at St Luke’s. Itʼs likely that you will have questions, please feel free to contact me: Kay Holt via the Parish Office on 0161 929 1537. Or check out the Church of England’s website, click here.


The Church offers a wedding service at St Maryʼs. We welcome the opportunity to prepare couples for the wedding service and for their married life together and are open to discuss interested couplesʼ own particular situations.

Please contact: Kay Holt via the Parish Office 0161 929 1537. To find out even more about getting married in church why not click here and visit the Church of England’s wedding website which has a wide variety of information and resources.


The Parish Church is here to serve the whole parish and to offer its ministry at peopleʼs times of need. This is not limited to churchgoers.

At a time of bereavement please remember that the Church can offer a service, at St Maryʼs or St Lukeʼs, with music, readings and prayers. This is an opportunity to give thanks, to share in a time of sorrow and need, and to entrust our loved ones to God, to his love and peace.

Contact: the Parish Administrator, Kay Holt, on 0161 929 1537.

Electoral Roll

Why have an electoral roll?

It is the list of those qualified to attend and to vote at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting where the elections take place for the Church Council and the parishʼs representatives on the Deanery Synod. The Roll is brought up to date before the Annual General Meeting each year and is completely revised every six years. The number of members on the Roll determines how many representatives we are allowed to send to Deanery Synod, where our views can be expressed. In a year of renewal, no names are carried over from the old roll and everyone 16 or over must make a new application to be included on the new roll. By enrolling you become a voting member of the Church of England and so help to ensure that all the councils of the church are fully representative of its members.

What it means for us here at Bowdon Parish: The Church of England takes our Electoral Role count to be a representation of our congregation size and therefore our feasibility as an ongoing church – the larger our electoral role, the more likely we will be permitted to remain as a functioning church with our own vicar and also to act as a placement parish for a trainee curate.

Please download the form and send your completed and signed version to Kay Holt via the Parish Office. The Electoral Roll Register and application forms are also available at St Maryʼs and St Lukeʼs.

Contact: the Electoral Roll Officer, Ann Ford, via the Parish Office on 0161 929 1537.

  • Parish population
  • Electoral roll
  • Congregation living outside the parish
  • Baptisms in 2015
  • Weddings in 2015
  • Funerals in church in 2015
  • Confirmation Candidates in 2015
  • 6692
  • 422
  • 40% approx
  • 32
  • 17
  • 30
  • 17

Parish History

The present church is probably the fifth to stand on the site. We believe there has been a church, or at least a gathering point for Christians to worship, in Bowdon from the 8th Century. This was borne out by the discovery of a fragment of Saxon Cross during some previous restoration work.

Parish Information and Downloads

Parish Guide
Our Principles for Communication
Parish Annual Report
PCC Secretary’s Report 2018
Electoral Roll Application

Archives and Memorials

St Maryʼs Church has a long history and the records go back nearly as far as any in the country.

Most of the statutory records have been copied to computer and selections are often requested by people tracing their family trees.

The computer records include all the legible inscriptions in the graveyard and the Church.

We continue to get enquiries from people tracing their family trees at the rate of about one a week. These can come from anywhere in the world and the simple ones can be answered by an email reply. Others require more work like trimming and clearing a grave for photography so that distant relatives can see the resting place of their forefathers. The database and text records are continually updated and extended so that the information we have available is as complete as possible. An enjoyable part of the job is guiding enquirers to their relativesʼ graveside and listening to the varied family stories.

Contact: Derrick Murdie via the Parish Office on 0161 929 1537.

Views of Bowdon from St Mary’s tower

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

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