Welcome to the Diocese of Guildford
“After all the challenges of the past few years, the Diocese of Guildford is an exciting place to be! Our vision of a Transforming Church Transforming Lives is increasingly well-rooted in our parish communities, with churches, schools and community projects becoming clearer and more focused in what they believe God is calling them to do. ‘Growing disciples’, ‘growing diversity’ and ‘growing community’ have emerged as our major priorities in the post-pandemic era.”
Since 1927, the Church of England presence covering most of Surrey and North East Hants has been known as the Diocese of Guildford.
More than a million people live within the Diocese of Guildford, a defined area located to the southwest of London.
The area covers two-thirds of Surrey (including Egham, Banstead, Dorking and Farnham), parts of North East Hampshire (including Farnborough and Aldershot), one parish each in Sussex, and one in Greater London.
See how the Diocese of Guildford fits into the national geography of the Church of England.
• The diocese has 159 parishes, with 83 church schools and several hundred social and community projects.
• There are over 200 stipendiary (paid) clergy working across the diocese.
• There are 117 authorised lay ministers serving across the diocese along with hundreds more volunteers who lead and support the running of projects and parish life in a huge variety of different ways.
• Our 212 church buildings welcome more than 25,000 people worshipping on an average Sunday, in addition to many thousands more of all ages who use those buildings or neighbouring church halls on weekdays for church activities and community clubs and meetings.
• The Diocese of Guildford was formed in 1927 from part of the ancient Diocese of Winchester. Guildford Cathedral, dedicated to The Holy Spirit and built between 1936 and 1961, is one of only two British Anglican cathedrals to be built on a new site since the C16th Reformation - Liverpool is the other.
The diocesan area is subdivided into two smaller areas called Archdeaconries, which are each then subdivided further into Area Deaneries (you can find a list of parishes within each deanery via the Find a Church page and clicking on the deanery). Find out more below:
The Archdeaconry of Surrey covers the western side of the Diocese of Guildford which includes the western side of the County of Surrey and part of North-East Hampshire. It includes the boroughs of Guildford, Waverley and Surrey Heath (in Surrey), and Rushmoor and Hart (in Hampshire). Towns such as Aldershot, Farnborough, Fleet, Camberley, Godalming, Farnham, Haslemere and Guildford sit alongside some of Surrey and Hampshire’s most picturesque ancient villages, stretching from the Crown Estate in the north to Loxwood - our only parish in Sussex - in the south.
Did you know? The Archdeaconry of Surrey is an ancient role, which dates back to the early part of the second millennium, when the Diocese of Guildford was part of a larger Diocese of Winchester.
The archdeaconry consists of the following Area Deaneries:
Dorking Archdeaconry and its Area Deaneries
The Archdeaconry of Dorking covers the boroughs of Epsom and Ewell, Runnymede, Woking, Elmbridge, part of Reigate and Banstead and most of the district of Mole Valley. One parish, Chessington, is in Greater London. Towns such as Woking, Epsom, Dorking, Leatherhead and Egham sit alongside village communities stretching from the banks of the Thames to the borders of Sussex.
The Archdeaconry of Dorking comprises the Area Deaneries of:
Every Area Deanery is subdivided even further into smaller areas called parishes
Our network of parishes covers the entire geographical area of the diocese, with churches located in all kinds of different contexts, from tiny rural communities to the busy commuter towns, areas of challenging social deprivation and others of great affluence.
Every church is encouraged, resourced and inspired through the diocesan leadership to be a transforming church, transforming lives
So churches are there for everyone, providing opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to pray, to explore their faith, to access support, to make a positive impact locally and globally, and to be supported at significant moments in their lives such as a wedding, a christening, a confirmation or a funeral.
Each parish is an independent charity, with its own leadership and governance structures and an ordained Minister responsible for pastoral care, as well as the running and legal responsibilities of the parish church for that area. They may be assisted by one or more Curates and there may be more than one church in each parish.
Through Deanery meetings, parishes help each other in prayer, finances and mutual support.
You can search for churches in any location across the diocese using our Find a church tool.