Giles Fraser saves Church

As St Paul’s Cathedral reopens today its worth looking back over the seven days.

St Paul’s, not being a parish church, does not feature in London’s 100 Best Churches. But Southwark Cathedral does and at least one third of its Sunday congregation live nearby.

Southwark has gained from St Paul’s Cathedral’s foolish action. The service to celebrate 150 years of Hymns Ancient and Modern was switched across the river. One result is that Timothy Dudley-Smith’s new hymn How shall we sing salvation’s song When justice stands denied? had its premiere at Southwark and not in The City.

Would-be worshippers have been directed to tiny St Vedast Church (also one of the 100) which is worth discovering with its collegiate-syle seating.

The loss of the past week has been Canon Giles Fraser who has long been an inspiration to many in the Church of England. St Mary’s Putney had to feature in London’s 100 Best Churches not just because of its association with Cromwell and Dickens but because as vicar he had made it an exciting and model parish church.

Giles Fraser’s sacrifice of office and lovely home hurts us even at a distance. But he has saved the reputation of the Anglican Church.

On the day of Canon Fraser’s resignation the Bishop of London asked for a meeting to “to discuss how we can ensure that his voice continues to be heard”. St Martin-in-the-Fields is vacant.

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