London’s 100 Best Churches special offer

London’s 100 Best Churches is now on sale for the special price of £2 at Church House Bookshop.

The shop is on the corner of Great Smith Street and Little Smith Street SW1 near Westminster Abbey. Open 9.30am-5pm Mon-Fri.

Or purchase online.

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Saving St Sepulchre’s

St Sepulchre-without-Newgate,  the 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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John Newton exhibition at the Wardrobe

A exhibition highlighting John Newton’s links with St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe can be viewed at the church this month; Mon-Fri 9am-4pm

Joh Newton Day: Thursday 30 March

Following the 12.30pm Eucharist on Thursday 30 March it will be possible to visit the Rectory to view Newton’s manuscripts for Messiah sermons and a portrait by John Russell last last seen in 1788.

6pm Evensong will be followed by a brief concert by the English Chamber Choir introduced by Jonathan Aitken. The programme includes an aria from Messiah (with extracts from Newton’s sermon), an early hymn by Newton to its original tune by Thomas Arne, verses from Amazing Grace sung to tunes in use during Newton’s lifetime.

 

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Bishop Philip North

The decision by Philip North to withdraw as bishop designate of Sheffield is a huge loss to the diocese and country.

Fr North was a popular and very successful parish priest in Camden. He was Team Rector of St Pancras, which included St Michael’s Camden Town, from 2008 to 2015. His realism, enthusiasm and optimism was during that time were inspiring.

The opposition to his appointment by some women priests and their supporters may prove to be a huge mistake.

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Ash Wednesday

Many people go to church on Ash Wednesday. You will see plenty of people with a mark on their forehead at lunchtime in the Square Mile on that first day of Lent.

But it is not a ‘day of obligation’. You don’t have to be at Mass. I have even known a non Eucharistic service with ashing in Rome.

So it is interesting to find an Ash Wednesday service which is not a Eucharist being held in the City this year.

At 12.30pm on Ash Wednesday 1 March an Ecumenical Liturgy of the Word with Ashing service will take place at St Bartholomew the Less in Smithfield. (Enter via the hospital gateway.)

St Bartholomew the Great will have a Solemn Choral Eucharist at 6pm with Allegri’s Miserere sung during the imposition of ashes.

 

Other City Churches

St Mary-le-Bow: High Mass with imposition of ashes, 1.05pm.

St Andrew Holborn: Sung Eucharist, 7pm.

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Martin Dudley’s last service

The Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at St Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield next Tuesday will be the Rector’s last service.

Although Dr Martin Dudley had a farewell party at Bart’s last week he is preaching on Sunday morning and presiding on Tuesday. It is expected to be even more packed than usual.

The carol service on Tuesday 20 December begins at 6pm.

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Martin Dudley to leave St Bartholomew’s

Dr Martin Dudley, Rector of Great St Bartholomew as it is now known, is retiring from the Smithfield parish after 21 years.

His last Sunday will be the Fourth Sunday of Advent but the farewell reception is being held earlier on Friday evening 16 December in the Great Hall of St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

Former churchwarden Ian Kelly wrote about the church’s growth during the past two decades at the time of the announcement.

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Fr John Gaskell first anniversary

Today Friday 28 October is the first  anniversary of Fr John Gaskell’s death.

Tonight at St Alban’s Holborn there will Vespers of the Dead at 6.30pm followed by Solemn Mass.

The preacher is former curate Fr David Houlding.

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City Bach cantata series 40th anniversary

The 40th anniversary of the first Bach Cantata series performance is to be marked by a lunchtime concert on the same date

Peter Lea-Cox launched the series at the church on Thursday 11 November 1976 at St Mary-at-Hill.

The Bach Vespers series, once at St Anne & St Agnes Lutheran Church, has completed a full cycle of all Bach’s church cantatas.

Two cantatas for Advent will be heard at the anniversary concert at St Mary-at-Hill at 1.05pm on Friday 11 November .

Admission free; followed by a reception.

 

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Fish Harvest Festival

The annual Fish Harvest at St Mary-at-Hill is at 11am on Sunday 9 October.

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