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.
In her new role, Tricia is responsible for providing pastoral care to the Speaker, Members of Parliament and parliamentary staff, and for conducting daily prayers in the Commons chamber when the House is sitting. She becomes the 80th Speaker’s Chaplain, succeeding the Right Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who was consecrated as Bishop of Dover in November last year. She also becomes Priest in Charge of St Mary at Hill in the City of London, and one of Westminster Abbey’s 25 Priest Vicars – a role which involves assisting at services in the Abbey, St Margaret’s and the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in Parliament.
Speaking about Tricia’s appointment, David Hoyle said:
The Abbey community is delighted to welcome Tricia Hillas to Westminster. She has served St Paul’s with great grace and distinction. We will relish her company. We also acknowledge a new and important opportunity to build a deeper and stronger relationship between the Abbey and Parliament as a new Dean, a new Speaker and a new Speaker’s Chaplain all meet the opportunities and challenges ahead.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle said:
Tricia’s arrival heralds a new and exciting beginning for Parliament and an opportunity to reinforce our relationship with our neighbours in Westminster Abbey. I am so pleased Tricia has joined our parliamentary ‘village’ to offer pastoral support to MPs and staff, which can only improve our mental health and wellbeing.
Tricia Hillas said:
Having been warmly welcomed into the House of Commons by Sir Lindsay, his staff and Members, I am delighted to be formally inaugurated as Speaker’s Chaplain. It was wonderful to commit this new phase of ministry in such a spiritual setting, surrounded by so many friends and colleagues.
St Margaret’s Church
Standing as it does between the Abbey and the Palace of Westminster, St Margaret’s has long been known as ‘the parish church of the House of Commons’. The close connection dates from Palm Sunday, 17th April 1614, when the whole House assembled in the church and took Holy Communion together. Regular parliamentary services have been held in St Margaret’s ever since, as have weddings, baptisms and services of thanksgiving for Members and their families.
When the First World War ended in 1918, Prime Minister David Lloyd George led MPs to St Margaret’s for a service of thanksgiving, and Winston Churchill did the same in 1945 at the end of the Second World War.
The emblem of the House of Commons, the crowned portcullis, is found throughout St Margaret's, and since 1681 a pew has been set aside for the Speaker at the front of the church.
Order of Service for A Service of Inauguration for The Reverend Patricia Hillas as Chaplain to The Speaker of the House of Commons (PDF, 419KB)