Cover of a recent issue
|Owner(s)||Hymns Ancient and Modern|
|Publisher||GJ Palmer & Sons Ltd,
a wholly owned subsidiary of Hymns Ancient and Modern
|Political alignment||Church of England /
|Headquarters||Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London|
The Church Times was founded on 7 February 1863 by George Josiah Palmer, a printer. It fought for the Anglo-Catholic cause in the Church of England at a time when priests were being harried and imprisoned over such matters as lighting candles on altars and wearing vestments, which brought them into conflict with the Public Worship Regulation Act, intended to “put down” Ritualism. The paper defended the spiritual independence of the Church of England in spite of the Church’s Established status. Many of the ceremonial and doctrinal matters that the paper championed are now accepted as part of mainstream Anglicanism.
Since the mid-1950s, the paper’s sympathies have broadened, embracing the principle of diversity in the worldwide Anglican Communion, and looking more favourably on other Christian denominations. The paper carries more editorial and advertising than any of its main rivals for an Anglican readership.
Throughout its life, it has scrutinised the actions of the church hierarchy, besides covering the work of the parishes. It has provided extensive coverage of meetings of the Church of England’s central bodies, including the Convocations, the Church Assembly, and the General Synod. Its published annual Indexes have always described it as an “ecclesiastical and general” newspaper, and it has always included world events in its coverage. Much of its space has always been given over to serious book reviews, and, more recently, coverage of the arts.
The paper’s regular columnists include Paul Vallely, the associate editor of The Independent, and the author Ronald Blythe. Giles Fraser, the priest and media commentator, was a regular columnist from 2004 to 2013.
It has been nicknamed (mainly among Anglo-Catholics since the 1970s or 80s) "Jezebel's Trumpet" (alluding to Jezebel the wife of King Ahab of Israel; II Kings).
In February 2013, the Church Times marked its 150th anniversary.
- George J. Palmer (1863-1887)
- Henry J. Palmer (1887-1914)
- E. Hermitage Day (1915–24)
- Sidney Dark (1924–41)
- Leonard Prestige (1941–47)
- Humphry Beevor (1947–50; later Bishop of Lebombo)
- Rosamund Essex (1950–60))
- Roger L. Roberts (1960–68)
- Bernard Palmer (1969–89)
- John Whale (1989–95; former BBC head of religious programmes and Sunday Times writer)
- Paul Handley (1995–present)
- Simon Parke
- Gerald Butt (Middle East correspondent)
- David Winter
- Douglas Brown (BBC’s first religious affairs correspondent)
- Sir Edward Heath (news editor)
- Patrick Maitland (later 17th Earl of Lauderdale)
- Cole Moreton (news editor)
- Donald Maxwell (artist)
- Noel Ford
- Dave Walker
- Ron Wood
- Dave Gaskill
- Pete Dredge
- Bill Caldwell
The hymn “Onward, Christian Soldiers” was first published in the Church Times (15 October 1864).
Edward Heath, the future British Prime Minister, was news editor of the Church Times from February 1948 to September 1949. His work was “a mixture of administration, reporting, and sub-editing”. His assignments for the paper included covering the 1948 Anglo-Catholic Congress and Wand's Mission to London.
N.T. Wright (Tom Wright) was a weekly devotional columnist (Sunday’s Readings) from 1995 to 2000. He has said that writing the columns gave him the "courage" to embark upon his popular For Everyone (SPCK) series of commentaries on New Testament books.
- "The 50 most influential figures in the Anglican Church: 40-31", The Telegraph, 10 July 2008.
- 'Church Times marks 150th anniversary', BBC News, 10 February 2013
- Obituary: John Wale, The Guardian, 18 June 2008
- Palmer, Bernard, Gadfly for God, p34
- Palmer, Bernard, Gadfly for God, p199
- Palmer, Bernard, Gadfly for God, p198
- Thornton, Ed (22 July 2011). "Wright has ‘J. K. Rowling-plus’ appeal, says SPCK". Church Times (#7740). p. 4. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 7 June 2014. (subscription required (. ))