Saving St Sepulchre’s

St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, ┬áthe City of London’s largest church and a landmark opposite the Old Bailey, is one of London’s 100 best churches.

It easily made the list being the Musicians’ Church where Sir Henry Wood, the assistant organist at 14, is buried and the Royal School of Church Music was founded.

There has long been a weekly weekday choral evensong.

However, suddenly the church has decided that outside choirs are not welcome to sing and rehearse.

The church depressingly, in the manner of a dodgy developer trying to reduce objections, made its announcement in August when people are on holiday.

Indeed City employees tend to take an August holiday as much as any London worker and many more have done so this year due to the partial closure of Waterloo Station.

Did it it occur to the church how this news might be received for example by singers gathered at last week’s Edington Festival?

Those not away have already started is a petition asking the priest-in-charge and PCC to reconsider their shock move.

St Sepulchre’s was recently placed in the hands of a plant from evangelical Holy Trinity Brompton which was a surprise since bringing in a congregation only makes sense when it can be grown with locals.

But the few residents are already very well-served by nearby St Bartholomew the Great whilst the hospital across the road has its own church offering Sunday and weekday services.

St Sepulchre’s brings many to religion through music. Next month Promenaders will come with the chaplet which decorates the bust of St Henry Wood during the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

St Cecilia, patron of music, is depicted in a window.

Another window shows John Smith, first governor of Virginia, who is also buried in the church and acts as another focus to bring visitors.

By these connections and more St Sepulchre’s is already involved in outreach. Any change of policy should be as a result of very careful and wide consultation.

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One Response to Saving St Sepulchre’s

  1. Honor says:

    Has anyone on the St Sepulchre PCC read the Barchester novels? Unfortunately the ‘Bishop’ in real life is just as helpless as he was in Trollop’s novels. One can see and respect how earnest the Rev. Ingalls is being when making his decision to close the church to secular music concerts and rehearsals, but he doesn’t seem to have realised that choirs rehearsing latin choral pieces are actually singing the creed or singing quotes from the Bible, and that choirs and instrumentalists, when taking part in their concerts and rehearsals, are especially following the commands from Psalm 150. I do hope after examining his conscience, he can change tack and reverse his decision. I hope too that any future Bishop will fulfil and confirm the firm promises made by the Bishop of London, which was to keep the church functioning as ‘The Musicians’ Church’ i.e. open to rehearsals and concerts.

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