Great St Mary’s is a thriving and diverse community, which a unique way of reaching out to the city and university. This makes us different from most other churches in governance and structure.
We are properly called ‘The Parish of St Mary the Great with St Michael Cambridge’. Great St Mary’s is a Church of England parish in the diocese of Ely. It has been the University Church for the University of Cambridge since the university was founded. It is affiliated to the Greater Churches Network and with Inclusive Church.
Our aim is to work alongside all those concerned for the life of our city and who share our aims. Our governance structure seeks to do this.
We have set up four departments which we call ‘ministries’ within our community of Great St Mary’s.
- Great St Mary’s, a worshiping parish community governed by the Parochial Church Council. We worships in St Michael’s Church as well as Great St Mary’s.
- Michaelhouse, located in the historic St Michael’s Church just 50 yards along Trinity Street is a multi-purpose meeting, worship, and café space. This is an independent charitable trust, with trustees coming from several churches and none.
- The Chaplaincy to University Staff provides pastoral care to University of Cambridge staff and researchers who not linked with colleges. The Chaplaincy works closely with other faith groups.
- Heritage at Great St Mary’s is an education centre with a management committee drawn from schools, arts groups, and the parish. It arranges cultural heritage events, and arranges visits and workshops for schools.
Each of these ministries
- supports the aims of the Church;
- addresses a distinctive audience;
- is sustainable;
- has its own management group;
- is financially self-supporting.
Representatives of the ministries meet together to co-ordinate and share ideas and plan agreed programmes. We have developed this system of governance to root us in the complex and varied community at the centre of the city and work together with a variety of partners.
Our governance is designed to be bottom-up, not top-down. People and their needs come first. Governance provides co-ordination between those involved; ensures a shared programme and aim; and provides financial and staff resources.