The Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion are confusing institutions! A part of what makes them confusing is the wide variety of types of church that call themselves Anglican. Just in Guildford, one can find churches which might be mistaken for American Conservative Evangelical churches; Australian Charismatic churches; or St Nic's, which might be thought to be Roman Catholic, with plenty of other churches falling somewhere in between these two. All of these expressions of church, in fact, can be found in the Church of England! In a time in history when there are so many divisions within the Global Church, how refreshing it is to say that such a wide range of expressions of Church are united with each other, all within the Anglican Communion of Churches!
The term "Anglo-Catholicism" itself describes a range of theological views and traditions within Anglicanism which emphasise the continuity of the Church of England - and those churches born out of it - with the teaching and practice of Christianity throughout the ages; it is to believe that God is the God of the living and (despite the best efforts of the Church at times!), the Spirit of God really has been active in shaping the Church's life of worship. "Anglo-Catholics" have always valued the sacramental life of the church and the symbolism it contains (the word "symbol" is from the Greek words meaning "throw-together," as our lives are thrown together with the pattern of life in Jesus) - Jesus has given us a pattern of life which we open ourselves to being moulded by through hearing his words in the Mass, daily learning to follow him through the waters of Baptism into new life, and so on. Anglo-Catholics adhere to doctrines such as the real presence of Christ in the Mass and the continuity of the apostolic orders of Bishop, Priest and Deacon. A significant stress on liturgy and worship - performed in order to maintain the beauty of holiness and to shape our heart's desires - makes worship in an Anglo-Catholic church an experience which is intended to appeal to one's whole person - to heart as well as head, to senses as well as to intellect.
For more information on Anglo-Catholic beliefs, see "Our Faith" in the drop-down menu.
St Nicolas's Church Building and its History
One of three ancient parish churches in the county town of Guildford, St Nicolas was built in the twelfth century and prayer has been valid ever since. The parish faces in two directions: sitting as it does at the foot of the town's High Street it is at first sight a town centre church as indeed it is, but the parish itself covers the Guildford hinterland – mainly rural and agricultural as well as the housing sitting in the comfortable southern part of the town.
The Parish includes Loseley Park, the home of More-Molyneux family since around 1509. Their memorial chapel which dates from c1550 is part of the parish church site and sits on the south of the church. You are welcome to visit this oldest monument in Guildford by prior arrangement with the Parish Administrator via email.
Also within the parish is St Catherine's Hill – a listed Grade 1 chapel dating c1300. This wonderful ruin is still in the pervue of the Rector and has royal connections to our castle.
For a video history of our wonderful building click here.
Dr Catherine Ferguson has researched and written the Statement of Significance for St Nicolas' which can be read here:
She has also produced the following video presentations which can be found on our YouTube channel: