The Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons is Reverend Canon Patricia Hillas, who took up the post in February 2020.
The Chaplain says prayers in the House of Commons Chamber on every sitting day, after which formal business begins. He or she also presides at the weekly services of Holy Communion that are celebrated in Parliament’s chapel, the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft.
The Chaplain provides pastoral care to the Speaker, Members of Parliament and parliamentary staff, and performs baptisms and marriages in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, for Members, staff and officials of both Houses. The Chaplain is one of the officials of the House of Commons who takes part in the daily Speaker’s procession, before each sitting day begins.
About Tricia Hillas
Born in Kuala Lumpur to an Indian mother and a British father, Tricia Hillas moved to the UK with her family in 1971. She was ordained in 2002 following a career as a youth and social worker specialising in supporting those diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. Most recently, she was Canon Pastor at St Paul’s Cathedral. She is the 80th person to formally hold the role of Speaker’s Chaplain, and the second woman, succeeding the Right Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who was consecrated as Bishop of Dover in November 2019 (from the Westminster Abbey website).
The post of Speaker’s Chaplain has long been regarded as part of the Speaker’s staff, though is also referred to as Chaplain to the House. In 1660 the first person to be recorded as appointed Speaker’s Chaplain was Edward Voyce, although the presence of a clergyman to conduct prayers in the House is recorded in the Cromwellian Parliament of 1659. The post was without salary until 1835.
The Chaplain is appointed by the Speaker and as well as providing a personal chaplaincy to him/her, the Chaplain also provides pastoral and spiritual support for Members and staff of both Houses.
From 1972-2010, the Speaker’s Chaplain also acted as the Rector of St Margaret’s Church, which is situated in Parliament Square next to Westminster Abbey.