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St Paul's
UK News

New chaplain to speaker of the House of Commons announced

by Cara Bentley

The chaplain to the speaker of the House of Commons provides pastoral care for MPs and staff at Westminster and the role includes being Priest in Charge of St Mary at Hill in the City of London.

The Speaker's chaplain's responsibilities also include leading daily prayers in the Chamber, conducting a weekly service in the chapel and presiding over weddings and baptisms of members.

Rev Hillas currently works at St Paul's Cathedral as Canon and Pastor, responsible for the Cathedral's pastoral work, overseeing the welfare of all staff St Paul's and visitors.

She will be the 80th chaplain to the speaker and the second woman after Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin who was selected to become the next Bishop of Dover; Hudson-Wilkin will be installed on 30th November.

Before joining St Paul's Cathedral, Tricia was vicar of St Barnabas in Northolt.

Born in Kuala Lumpur, she trained as a senior social worker, before her ordination in 2002.

The Dean of St Paul's, David Ison, said she is: "a warm, intelligent, perceptive and creative colleague.

"She has challenged and stretched St Paul's to be more inclusive of others, and I'm sure she will do a great job as Chaplain in Parliament in the midst of the great variety of people and issues she will encounter there. We will miss her and her contributions very much indeed; we wish her well, and will be praying for her in her new ministry."

The Bishop of London, Rt Rev and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, said: "In these extraordinary political times, Tricia is an outstanding candidate to become the next Speaker's Chaplain. She has provided inspirational, pastoral leadership at the heart of St Paul's public outreach work, engaging with diverse communities across the capital, and she will now play a pivotal role in Westminster, at a time of such profound uncertainty for the country.

"Tricia will contribute so much to Parliament, not least wisdom, friendship, calm and humour. Her background as a social worker, and her studies in conflict resolution, will undoubtedly come to the fore. I know that she will also thrive in her return to parish ministry in London at St Mary-at-Hill, having previously served as Vicar in Northolt."

Rev Hillas said: "I am excited to take up this new role, building on all I have learned at St Paul's and to immerse myself in Parliament and alongside the people of St Mary at Hill in supporting those whose decisions have a real and lasting impact on people and communities across the UK."

Tricia is expected to take up her new appointment early next year.

Speaker John Bercow made the announcement on Wednesday, saying: "Colleagues, I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Patricia Hillas as the new Speaker's Chaplain. She was selected following a fair, open and competitive recruitment process. Tricia, as she likes to be known, is currently Canon Pastor at St Paul's cathedral, where she leads on diversity and inclusion, and—goodness knows, there is a piquancy about this today—on the Church's response in times of disaster.

"In particular, she was part of the team at St Paul's that brought together the national memorial service following the Grenfell Tower disaster, working alongside the bereaved families and survivors, and local faith and other groups. As we know, that avoidable disaster has caused intense grief, pain and anger among those affected in the community.

"Born in Kuala Lumpur to an Indian mother and a British father, Tricia moved to the UK with her family in 1971. Formerly a social worker, Tricia specialised in supporting individuals and families diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, helping them deal with complex multiple challenges with dignity. Married to Andrew, who is head of the youth offending service for Southwark, Tricia will additionally be priest in charge of St Mary-at-Hill in the City of London.

"I am also proud to say that she will be the second female Speaker's Chaplain from a BAME background. Tricia replaces our dear friend, the Rev. Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who leaves on Thursday to become—I am so proud to say this—the first black Bishop of Dover. Tricia's start date remains to be agreed, but I hope that when she does take up the post, probably early next year, the House will enjoy working with her."

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