The Rectory

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

The Vision

Our location in the centre of the global city of Oxford gives us a wonderful base from which to reach many with the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and then send them out equipped to serve him all over the world. This initiative builds on foundations laid over many years and, God willing, will help secure evangelical ministry at St Ebbe’s well into the future.


In 2014, St Ebbe’s began to consider how to enable growth in the church within its limited space. The Lord led us to recommit to ministry in the city centre which enables us to serve students, the local community and an eclectic gathered church family from around the whole city. We were able to install a gallery and purchase the Pennyfarthing building, which has given us more space for the church to gather and children’s and small groups to meet. We were also able to remodel the kitchen, greatly enhancing our ability to serve people across all our ministries.

In his abundant grace, God provided for the URC building in Cowley to be purchased, enabling Grace Church to be planted in September 2019. In his perfect knowledge and wisdom, planting Grace Church Cowley and the extra space of the gallery and Pennyfarthing has enabled ministry to survive and even thrive through the covid pandemic. Praise him!

In the original ‘Building for Growth’ plans, in addition to the gallery, Pennyfarthing and kitchen improvements, there was a further aim: to purchase the Rectory. The PCC is proposing that now is a wise time to secure this building for ongoing gospel service.

The Rectory is a house provided by the Church of England for the Rector to live in. The St Ebbe’s Rectory is attached to the Church Centre, next to the church, on Roger Bacon Lane. Our current Rector, Vaughan Roberts, has never lived in the Rectory, due to its unsuitable nature.

Why purchase the Rectory now?

In line with this vision to use the God-given opportunity of the city centre, we propose that we complete the plan to purchase the Rectory. We consider this both a priority and wise use of resources because:

  1. The current Rectory isn’t a suitable house for a Rector. Not being a residential area, there are disturbances, it lacks privacy and it’s far from ideal for a family. Both St Ebbe’s and the Diocese of Oxford want to provide a Rectory that serves this ministry well. If we were able to buy the current building, the Diocese would purchase another Rectory.
  2. St Ebbe’s lacks housing for its staff.  Within the Church of England (especially for clergy) there is an understanding that although the salary/stipend is modest, housing is provided. Purchasing the Rectory would mean we have an additional house for the team.
  3. Though still laid out as a residential building, the Rectory is currently mainly used for church offices and meeting spaces. Purchasing the Rectory would enable St Ebbe’s to secure the building as essential space for ongoing ministry in the city centre. Currently 20 staff work in the Rectory. Finding another place for those staff to work in the city centre would be difficult and expensive.
  4. Though funded by the St Ebbe’s Church family, the Rectory would be bought by the Littlegate Trust, who would hold the property for gospel ministry at St Ebbe’s. The Littlegate Trust currently owns The Pennyfarthing, Grace Church Cowley and two residential staff houses; it works in close partnership with St Ebbe’s. Trustees include Greg Brisk (Chair), Robin Cooper and Simon Pillar, all members of St Ebbe’s. The Trust exists to secure property for gospel work in the long term.
  5. The Rectory has been valued and we’re in the process of agreeing a price to buy it from the Diocese of Oxford; we anticipate this will be in the range of £700,000 to £900,000. This means we need to raise a at least £300,000 which, if combined with a mortgage, would enable the Littlegate Trust to make the purchase. Ideally we would like to raise the full amount, which would free us from ongoing payments over many years. We will update the church family with a confirmed figure as soon as possible.

What can I do to support this initiative?

1. Pray

The Lord is able to supply everything required for this project. Please pray for him to provide all that is needed for his work.

2. Pledge a Gift

The Lord sees our hearts and any size of gift, large or small, is hugely valued.

3. Pledge a Loan

There may be some who are able to make a loan towards the purchase. The most helpful loans are between £10,000 and £250,000 and ideally for a period of 10 years. If you would appreciate talking to a Trustee about a loan, please contact Greg Brisk on

To pledge a gift or loan, please contact The Littlegate Trust on

Due to the healthy state of the St Ebbe’s PCC financial reserves, we will not to have a May Gift Day, but instead to encourage the church family to support to this project.

There is no time limit to make a pledge, but we will have a focus on the project from 29th May for a fortnight. From 12th June, the Littlegate Trustees will decide if they have the confidence to go ahead with the purchase and whether a mortgage is required. We will then be able to communicate with the church family and everyone who has made a pledge about next steps and the timings of when any gifts and loans need to be made. It is our hope that the purchase can be completed in June or July.

If you have any questions, please contact Tim Dossor, Minister (Operations) on

Update: Autumn 2022

Property agents of the The Littlegate Trust and the Diocese have agreed a price of £800,000 for the Trust to buy the Rectory and the sale is proceeding. Those who have pledged towards the project will soon be contacted to ask for more details (including Gift Aid information and source of funds declaration) and how to convert pledges into gifts. If anyone has questions about the process or would like to make a gift or loan at this late stage, please contact

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is the current Rectory a bad building for its ‘purpose’?
    People who have lived in the building in the past have found it a difficult place to live. Privacy, disturbance, noise, and safety are all factors which make it unsuitable as a family home. It is much better suited to be used as offices.
  2. It seems like a lot of money for a few offices?
    At least three factors make it especially valuable for church offices: it is in the centre of the city – enabling a base for ministry with students, the parish, vulnerable people; it houses 20 staff and is right next to the church centre where we have four other offices where a further 7 staff work; Oxford city centre offices are expensive.
  3. What happens if we don’t do this? What risk is there?
    When we need to appoint a new Rector, we want to be able to appoint the right person, and they shouldn’t be required to be able to purchase a property in the centre of Oxford. Current diocesan pay levels aren’t sufficient to rent a family sized property in the centre of Oxford. Purchasing a property means we’re not dependent on rental or purchase price rises.
Read more