Sir Philip Rutnam MikeSwift

Our new Chairman takes up office


Sir Philip Rutnam has become the new Chairman of the National Churches Trust.

He formally assumed the Chairmanship at a meeting of the charity’s Trustees  on Thursday 22 September 2022.

He succeeds Luke March, who served as Chairman since 2012.

Founded in 1953 as the Historic Churches Preservation Trust, the National Churches Trust works with churches of all denominations throughout the UK to keep them open and in use. In 2021 it awarded or recommended 304 grants for urgent repairs and maintenance, totalling £5.2 million.

Sir Philip Rutnam said:

“I’m deeply honoured to have become the new Chairman of the National Churches Trust.”

“I’d like to pay tribute to the support that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth gave to our work during her lifetime. As one of the first charities to be honoured with her patronage, we were immensely  grateful to have had her support throughout her reign. “

“I’d also like to thank Luke March for his outstanding leadership of the Trust as Chairman for the last ten years. He leaves behind a charity that is today the leading body supporting churches, chapels and meeting houses  throughout the UK.”  

“The importance of our work and the importance of churches to national life and to local people cannot be overstated.” 

“However, today too many of the UK’s 39,000  churches struggle to find the money they need to stay open and in good repair.”

“The Church of England of England alone estimates that it has a £1 billion repair bill for its parish churches.”

“I know the immense community contribution that churches make to the UK and to local communities.”

“So much happens in churches - from Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to maths classes and daily nursery schools and of course a range of religious services.”

“Churches make an amazing difference to people, believers or not.”

“Together with the National Churches Trust team, I will do everything I can to help more people recognise the importance of these remarkable buildings and for more money to be available to keep churches open and in use, now and for future generations to enjoy.”

About Sir Philip Rutnam

Born in Orpington in 1965, Sir Philip Rutnam was educated at Dulwich College, Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and Harvard University where he was a Kennedy Scholar. He joined the  Civil Service in 1987 where he held posts at the Treasury. He also worked for Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong and later joined Ofcom where he helped build the organisation from inception and was Partner, Competition and Regulation, and a member of the Board. He served as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport from 2012 to 2017 and at the Home Office from 2017 until 2020, and was also Acting Permanent Secretary at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in 2010. He was knighted in 2018 and is married with three children. His family are active members of Church of England congregations in London and Herefordshire.