I went last night to the Sung Eucharist at St Andrew’s, Holborn, which is on Holborn Viaduct, to the north of Fleet Street. There is a Sung Eucharist every Wednesday at 7pm. It is a beautiful, large church, situated next door to the City Temple.
St Andrew’s is a guild church, which means it doesn’t actually have a parish of its own, but it is there to serve the people who work round about. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, even though the original Church wasn’t destroyed in the Great Fire of London, saved by a change in wind direction, it was in a bad state of repair so Wren decided to re-build it anyway. It is the largest of Wren’s parish churches. It was destroyed by a bomb during the Second World War, which just left the shell of the building. It was decided that it was to be rebuilt to Wren’s designs, and re-opened in 1961 as a guild church. The church is still surviving from a legacy that has been preserved and invested carefully over the centuries, which was originally left by a local armourer, John Thavie, who in 1348 “left a considerable estate towards the support of the fabric forever.” St Andrew’s is definitely worth a look if you can! The preacher spoke of it being the 200th Anniversary of the birth of the Architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, and that we weren’t too far from one of his greatest pieces of work, The Midland Grand hotel at St Pancras Station. He concluded at the end of the sermon, by saying that we are all waiting on a railway station platform, waiting for our announcements. The voice on the tannoy is God’s, and we’ve all got to wait until our announcement is given with where we are to go (that was a condensed version of the sermon).
I discovered the City Temple in the week leading up to Pentecost, as I went along there on the Wednesday night with Zoe to see a performance called the centurion. It was a man giving a performance as a Centurion present at Christ’s trial and Crucifixion, which was a very interesting interpretation. That was when we’d seen the notice outside St Andrew’s about Sung Eucharist. On the Monday of that week, Zoe, Andreas and I went to a show in Hoxton Square. There was a full week of Pentecost related events organised around London. At Hoxton Square, it was an evening of “spoken word,” simple songs, poetry and recitations.
I’ve also had a visit from my friend Bobby from Fishburn. He came from Friday to Monday, and we spent a good weekend doing cultured things, shopping and a couple of nights out. We went to see the exhibition called the Cult of Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was filled with lots of beautiful paintings and furniture from the end of the 19th century. I’ve also last week been to the British Museum to see the Reliquary exhibition, which is showing lots of mediaeval reliquaries, that are said to contain pieces of saints’ bodies, or pieces of something that belonged to them. There are many beautiful boxes, containers and triptychs that have survived the centuries.
We also had the opportunity last month to go to the 28th floor of the Milbank Tower (at the centre of the student protests a few months ago) to a music launch evening of Victoria Aitken’s. Lisa, Andreas and myself went along for a short while. It was a fascinating place to go, especially to such a height. From the same room it was possible to look at the Houses of Parliament, The London Eye, all the way to the Shard, St Paul’s Cathedral, Piccadilly Circus, even to Battersea Power Station.
Our pastoral assistant, Andrew, has been writing his "Andrew's Travels" column in his Parish magazine for three years. He continues to contribute and his current articles will be published here.