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New Parish Link

St Patrick’s Cathedral, Toliara and Walmer Parish Churches, Deal, Kent, England Link on July 19, 2017 


“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body,

though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”

1 Corinthians 12.12


Bishop Todd & Rev. Patsy McGregor with Rev. Seth Cooper and wardens Mavis Stevenson & Jerry Swallow sign the Memorandum of Understanding in St Saviour’s Church

For over a decade now, Walmer Parish Churches has had an informal link with Toliara in Madagascar.  The link began when Walmer hosted the newly appointed bishop of Toliara the Rt Rev. Todd McGregor, in 2006


Walmer is a small coastal community on the east coast of Kent, in the Canterbury diocese of the Church of England. It has a population of about 8000 and is best known for its Tudor castle, which is the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.  Walmer formerly hosted a large contingent of the Royal Marines including the Band School.


The parish has 3 church buildings, the oldest of which is the original mediaeval church dating from about 1120, with a membership of about 250.  The Rev. Canon Seth Cooper, vicar of Walmer, is assisted by a team of lay ministers and retired clergy with a strong pastoral and discipleship ministry.


Walmer Parish Churches and the Downs Church of England school have supported the mission in Toliara in a number of ways over the years, not least by raising funds to buy mosquito nets;  supporting a coffee storage facility; and general expenditure.  Bishop Todd and Rev. Patsy have visited Walmer, helping with worship, preaching, and visiting the school.


In recent years Bishop Todd has been seeking to ‘formalize’ many of the links the diocese has with overseas partners and asked Walmer if it would make a link with St Patrick’s Cathedral.


To that end Walmer PCC agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (see summary below) at its recent meeting and hopes that the link can be built upon in years to come.

  1. The key objectives of the Parish Link are
    • to pray for one another
    • to get to know people & places in the link parish
    • to support each other in mission & ministry
  2. Both parishes recognise they are blessed with a variety of complementary gifts for equipping the Church
  3. Both parishes recognize that they will be equal partners in Christ’s mission.
  4. Each parish will appoint someone to be the main ‘link’ –
  5. The key leaders (usually clergy) of both parishes will communicate at least twice a year
  6. Parishes to list the other as their Link parish on their website or bulletins
  7. If possible and when appropriate, to arrange visits to each other’s parish, to offer hospitality and welcome, and to work alongside each other in mission.


In autumn next year Walmer’s churchwarden, Jerry Swallow will visit Toliara to continue strengthening our link.


Please pray that God will bless this partnership; that the Holy Spirit will make it a channel of grace and peace; and that St Patrick’s Cathedral and Walmer Parish Churches will be more effective in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.