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London 30th August 2012

August 30, 2012

Another day in London. This time in the West of the city.

St. John’s, Waterloo

St. John’s, Waterloo

This large church sits directly opposite Waterloo station. Along with many other churches, it was severely damaged in the war but rebuilt, re opening in 1951. Today it was busy as an orchestral rehearsal was going on. It is open every day and the sign outside welcomes visitors. Inside, there are laminated history guides to carry around and a few other leaflets, including one about the organ which is a magnificent instrument. Felix Mendelssohn played it. There is a votive stand to use as well as a prayer board for intercessions. I didn’t count the visitors book. The churches website is at http://www.stjohnswaterloo.org/this doesn’t give any information for visitors outside service times.

St. John’s Waterloo

I rate this church as Okay. More could be done to welcome and inform the visitor.

St. Paul’s Covent Garden

St. Paul’s, Covent Garden

Covent Garden was very busy with visitors today, the usual street performers were drawing quite a crowd outside the church. The church is approached through the churchyard, in itself a delightful space and much used by people to escape the busyness of the area. The signage is very good and encourages people to come inside. One of the church cats was in residence also welcoming visitors! Inside there are lots of plaques commemorating various actors as befits the ‘Actor’s Church’. Two musicians were rehearsing – Mizuki Shindo ( Flute) & Kayoko Sugimura (Piano), and very good they were. This gave a lovely atmosphere to the church and visitors sat and quietly listened. There is a votive stand to use here and a leaflet, ‘To help you Pray’ gives some classic prayers and also suggestions to help those who are not sure how or what to pray. There was a flyer for a ‘Children’s Garden’ to be held here. There is a church guide available and 30 people had signed the visitors book in the last 2 days (a loose leaf booklet). The website is at www.actorschurch.org. This gives good visitor information as well as an interesting page about the Church of England. I rate this church as good.

Church cat at Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Again, more could be done for the visitor, although the numbers who must come in have to be born in mind. This cannot be an easy place to minister.

St. Mary Le Strand

St. Mary Le Strand

This is a lovely church to visit. Despite it’s position on a traffic island it manages to be a haven of peace. The signs outside were very good making it very clear that the church was both open and welcomes visitors. Inside, I found some prayer sheets as well as guides in various languages. Also the Faith Walks leaflets from the Diocese of London. For sale are 1stday covers, key fobs and post cards. There is a small history display and book to enter prayer request into and a votive stand to use. The churches website is at http://www.stmarylestrand.org/this simple site gives very clear information for visitors.

St. Mary Le Strand

I rate this church as good. Well worth a look.

St. Clement Danes, Strand

St. Clement Danes

St. Clement Danes is the central church of the RAF and is therefore rather an unusual one. It is open every day and the signs outside give a good welcome. Inside there are many reminders of the RAF, with memorials of various sorts to air force personnel. Books of remembrance record many names of those who gave their lives. There is a good tourist guide for general visitors and one for serving RAF members. Also another guide with a stunning photo of the magnificent roof of the church. There is a votive stand to use and many candles were burning on my visit. The visitors book had 127 names in the last month.

Altar at St. Clement Danes

There is a crypt here which is a lovely quiet place with an open Bible. This is an unusual and interesting church to visit and I rate it as good for the purposes of this study.

St. Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square

St. Martin in the Fields

This very well known church was busy today. Yet, what really struck me was how respectful and quiet the visitors were. I am not sure why this was so here. Many busy churches can seem just like a tourist attraction, but St. Martin’s was different. It is a prayerful place, an oasis of peace in a busy place. I found several leaflets of interest, ‘The story of St. Martin in the Fields’ is a simple guide to the history of the church. ‘Liturgies for Life’ is an unusual leaflet which sets out a theological perspective on the journey of life and how it might be marked by the church. Very good. I love the east window here – simple yet very effective. The website is at http://www.smitf.org/page/home/home.htmland this gives a lot of information for the visitor. There is a shop in the crypt with lots of gifts etc., as well as a cafe and art exhibition.

East Window at St. Martin in the Fields

There didn’t seem to be a visitors book so no count was made. This is a very good church to visit and I rate it as very good.

St. Giles in the Fields, St. Giles High Street

St. Giles in the Fields

Yet another interesting church to visit. Again, very clear signs welcome the visitor. A food stall operates in the churchyard. The website is at http://www.stgilesonline.org/and gives opening times, as well as a nice page on prayer. There is a lot of information for the visitor in the church. On a table inside the door is a pile of cards inviting visitors to keep in touch. Also a card with the text of The General Thanksgiving on one side and another Prayer Book collect on the other. There is a leaflet also ‘Information for Visitors’ which gives both history and service details. Another nice leaflet gives details of the life of the church. There is another with prayer guidance and ‘The Christian Faith an Introduction for Newcomers.’ The text of this is also on the website. I picked up the church’s newsletter, ‘The Pelican’ which is very good.

St. Giles in the Fields

St. Giles has made a real effort to both welcome and inform their many visitors (only 10 in the last month had signed the visitors book! – another loose leaf one which might make a difference). I rate this as very good.

St. George’s, Hanover Square

St. George’s, Hanover Square

On my visit the new organ was being tuned and voiced so absolute silence was requested whilst the organ produced various squeaks and whistles. There was a board outside which tells all passers by that the church is open. There is a good leaflet for visitors as well as one on ‘St George’s and the USA’ (there are many links) and one entitled, ‘St George’s – Handel’s Church’, this also gives details of the new organ which sounds like a superb instrument. There is a small display of both the history and people who have been associated with St. George’s. A church guide is available from the vestry.

St. George’s, Hanover Square

The website is at http://www.stgeorgeshanoversquare.org/ and gives opening times etc as well as a history of the church. I rate this church as good.

All Saints, Margaret Street

All Saints, Margaret Street

A marvellous church hidden down a side street. The church is open every day and is associated with the ‘Faith Walks’ scheme. The door was open and the signs outside make it clear that visitors are welcome. There is a steward on duty who was both friendly and knowledgeable. There is a range of Gospel imprint leaflets, guides – a brief one for free and a coloured one for a very reasonable £2. Also CD’s of music recorded here are for sale. A small bookstall stocks a good range. Surprisingly only 30 people had signed the visitors book in the last month. This church must get many more visitors than that. The website is at http://www.allsaintsmargaretstreet.org.uk/and features a video ‘A day in the life of All Saints’.

‘Thursday Candle’ at All Saints

All Saints, Margaret Street

It also gives more information on history and worship here. I rate this church as very good for the visitor.

All Souls, Langham Place

All Souls, Langham Place

All Souls is almost completely the opposite of All Saints, yet they are very close to each other. All Souls is a famous evangelical church, designed by John Nash. It sits next to the BBC and is a distinctive building. Inside, it is spotless and well cared for. It is open every day and the signage says as much. Inside, in the foyer, there are some leaflets to pick up a card ‘For all For now For ever For you’, which advertises the church, Christianity Explored and Bible Gateway, a website where the Bible can be read in almost any language. There is also a simple explanation of the Christian faith, ‘Jesus. Who, why..so what?’ , produced by the good book company. Another is a very topical ‘More than Conquerors’ by More than Gold which is produced for the Paralympic Games which started yesterday!

All Souls interior

There is also a ‘Welcome to All Souls Church’ giving details of the life of the church. All these reflect the churches worship tradition. The website http://www.allsouls.org/ gives much detail about the life of the church also, as well as sermons. There is a history guide available at £3.50. There is much going on here but I don’t really feel that casual visitors are really catered for. I have to rate All Souls as Okay in this respect. Incidentally you can find a Mystery Worshipper report on Ship of Fools at http://www.ship-of-fools.com/mystery/specials/london_05/reports/1062.html

St. Marylebone, Marylebone Road

St. Marylebone Parish Church

Another distinctive church on the busy Marylebone Road. It is hard to get a good photo of the exterior without getting run over! This church is open every day. The website is at http://www.stmarylebone.org/and gives much information about the church and about it’s healing ministry. It is open every day and is a real haven of peace. Several people were sitting quietly whilst I was there. There is a history guide, CD’s for sale as well as postcards and notelets. It is also has ‘Faith Walks’ leaflets.

Marylebone interior

There are multi lingual church guides and a laminated one to walk around with. A votive stand is there to use and they stock several of the Gospel imprint leaflets. This church is well worth a visit and I rate it as good.

St. Cyprian’s, Clarence Gate

St. Cyprians, Clarence Gate

I have never visited this church, despite it’s close proximity to Marylebone Station. It was locked today but is open sometimes – Thursdays 11.30 – 2pm and Sundays. They are having an open day on Saturday 1st September10 – 4pm. The website is at http://www.stcyprians.org.uk/and gives more information. It looks well worth a visit. Not rated (yet!). One unusual feature is an external sign which explains who St. Cyprian was.

St. Cyprian explanation

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