Five minutes with Father Stephen Evans at St Marylebone Parish Church

Each month, we spend five minutes with one of the impressive professionals that call Harley Street home. This month, it's over to St Marylebone Parish Church to meet Father Stephen Evans.

Can you tell us a little bit about your work at St Marylebone Parish Church

Being the Rector of St Marylebone must be one of the most exciting jobs a parish priest in England could have. As Rector I head up a team of wonderfully creative people whose role it is, is to serve the community which finds its spiritual centre in its magnificent grade-1 listed parish church.

I am also the Chaplain to four independent hospitals, Kings VII’s Hospital, The London Clinic, The Schoen Clinic and Cleveland Clinic London. In the parish church we host a 10,500 thousand patient NHS Primary Care practice and for nearly 40 years the parish church has employed 30 psychiatrists and analytical psychotherapist offering low-cost psychotherapy and counselling.

For more the 250 years the parish church has been involved in education and currently has two schools, including The St Marylebone CE School on the high street and the UK’s only Church Special School, The St Marylebone CE Bridge School which will move into a brand-new purpose build building in September 2022 in Queens park.

Serving the community is what St Marylebone has been about for more than 900 years!

Describe your average day.

There is no such thing as an average day, even after 12 years every day still seems like the first day at work in a new job. Every day will include time for prayer and worship but will also include things such as managing a multi-million-pound restoration and conservation project, arranging baptisms, marriages and funerals, meeting with members of our 74-strong team, engaging in local community events and carrying out hospital chaplaincy work.

How did you get to where you are today?

I was invited by the Crown to consider becoming the Rector of St Marylebone in 2010 having served in many different parishes across the UK since 1986. Before that, I had a short career as an Officer in the Royal Navy and studying at the Universities of Oxford and Aberdeen.

How has Covid-19 impacted your organisation?

Covid-19 has impacted every organisation, every business, every community, and every individual throughout the world. St Marylebone Parish Church has not been immune from these changes. We had to close for some months and move our worship online. Many of church members moved away from St Marylebone to be nearer family. During the pandemic and since we have tried to find new and creative ways of staying at the heart of our community. It is wonderful that the completion of our building project this summer will make our spaces more accessible, better equipped and more available to community groups.

What do you like most about being based near Harley Street?

Harley Street brings an enormously wide range of people together in a very small geographical area. It helps to support shops, restaurants and cafes and keeps the area at the forefront of medical research, technology, and excellence. Being part of this is really energising.

What are your thoughts on the future of the Harley Street Area?

Independent healthcare is a growing worldwide market. To many people all over the world, Harley Street and first-class health care are synonymous. The pandemic has also shown how independent hospitals and practitioners can support and add capacity to an increasing over-stretched National Health Service. I envisage a greater sharing of resources and expertise between the independent Health Care sector and the NHS, much of which will be led by those who work in and from Harley Street Medical Area Partnership

How does the Harley Street Business Improvement District support your business?

It has been great to work with HSMAP in launching our last two Christmas Appeals, supporting vulnerable children and adults in Westminster. We have managed to raise and distribute more than £12,000 worth of books, gifts and food. Thanks to HSMAP, Daunt Books, Waitrose and especially Chef Paul and the catering team at The London Clinic.

We were also delighted to have them involved with our International Women’s Day online tour and we are always so grateful for the marketing support they offer to each of our projects and events.

How could a visitor to the area spend their time here?

St Marylebone is known the great city north of Oxford Street. It has beautiful parks, gardens and squares, world-class museums and concert halls, fine dining, interesting shops, attractive buildings and from September 2022 a re-energised parish church which will tell the story of St Marylebone through art, film, music, Marylebone in 100 Objects, guided tours, and self-guided trails.

Any particular recommendations or hidden gems?

The gardens of St John’s Lodge is one of London’s best kept secrets. The Wallace Collection should be on any visitor’s itinerary, not just the Laughing Cavalier but the collection of exquisite miniatures   and the astonishing collection of small bronzes.

If you could describe the Harley Street area in three words, what would they be?  

Come and see!