Activities January-June 2018

24-26 June 2018, St Giles’ Annual Weekend at Othona

They like having us at Othona - we don’t drop sweets on the grass or wear muddy boots indoors. Our annual weekend is usually in the second half of June when the school visits are at their height. The early party arrived to find Debbie, Richard and Pilar cleaning the yurts. We sat and had a cup of tea taking in the sunshine and the bird song before sorting rooms and the bed linen and setting up the chapel


Friday evening supper is the sort of meal that keeps for latecomers. We had taken ‘Compass and Stars’ - a selection of meditations - as the basis for our sessions. On Friday, we got our bearings and thought about being alert to co-incidences. After Compline, we flopped around in armchairs listening to Catherine and Felicity playing the piano.  Bedtime is earlier than usual because we either arrive tired or discover how tired we are once we stop. 

On Saturday, Susan led a creative session in which we magnetised needles and floated them to indicate north. We thought they were all bobbing around in different directions because of the metal screws in the deck. An absorbing activity with interesting results.


Ros took us shopping via the meditation entitled ‘A Spirituality of Shopping’. Between us we found we could name 5 of the 7 deadly sins and were intrigued to realise the antidote for most of the sins were girls’ names: Patience, Temperance, Diligence, Peace and so on. Lots more could have been said here!

Lunch was outside - we’ve had good weather in the past, but never as good as this year. Traditionally, there is a long walk on Saturday afternoon. Three did the hike; several sauntered along the sea wall; four went swimming and three picked gooseberries. Doris taught us Taize chants in the chapel before evensong,

Time for a glass of wine on the veranda before supper. which was a barbecue cooked for us by Tim.


We brought compline forward to 8.30pm as even the Scrabble players didn’t think they’d still be awake at 9.00pm. We met Peter who was walking the St Peter’s Way and invited him to join us in the chapel.

Early risers on Sunday morning drank tea and listened to the cuckoo. Felicity’s tooth fell out, and the owls got fed. We sang the Eucharist and were visited by dogs being exercised by their owners; in the silences you could hear the pheasants.

Our annual photograph afterwards outside the chapel

Simon led the last star-gazing session, giving us evening sky maps and asking us to consider the constellations. 

Coming home is always the saddest part. Ros writes: ‘The tranquillity always starts to permeate by Saturday evening, and by Sunday, I always feel I want to stay a bit longer and sit in the chapel for a while’.

Vivian hadn’t been before. She recalls: ‘The immediate change of pace from the moment of arrival; you are able to step back from life incidentals and live in and for the moment; sharing meals, conversation and quiet times, against an almost idyllic backdrop of nature; the wind blowing around the chapel, birds calling in the night and early morning; the striped red sunset, the multitude of seashells by the estuary of differing colour and design, the tide going in and out; gentle winds blowing the grasses and the white wind turbines on the horizon, at times barely turning and at others, nearly spinning.’


We are booked to return 21 - 23 June 2019. Save the date! 

Saturday 9 June                                                              St Giles’ Churchyard 11.00-14.00


Books, coffee and cake, tai chi, the flypast and fun at St Giles' Churchyard!


It was a bright sunny morning as members of the Tai Chi class gathered in the churchyard with teacher Lai Marsh to give a free demonstration


Members of the public were invited to join in and soon the whole area was filled with everyone enjoying the graceful and gentle movements of Tai Chi.


The Book Fair continued in the church and by the end of the day had made £1714 since the start on 4 June. There were special deals for the weekend and great reductions on Crime novels. Coffee and cakes were also served in church for those thirsty after their efforts outside and book buyers too.

Others gathered before 13.00, a glass in hand, to watch the RAF flypast of old and new military planes and of course the Red Arrows flying in formation over the Barbican on its way to Buckingham Palace following the Trooping of the Colour.



For more details about the Tai Chi class, contact certified teacher Lai Marsh on mobile 07950 392028 or email

Saturday 19 May Food Bank Collection                          at Waitrose, Cherry Tree Walk

Christopher writes

‘The Trussell Trust has changed its formula for calculating the weight collected and meal equivalents and we are told that this Saturday we collected 244kg, enough for 123 meals which is about 60% less than we collected in February.’


Margaret, Daniel and Christopher standing by a full crate

‘Last Saturday certainly was quieter because of the wedding, but we would be surprised if it was 60% less! I have told Colleen at the Hackney Foodbank that it doesn’t really matter; we collected what we collected, we enjoyed doing it, and we will happily do it again!’                                                     


Judith and Simon handing out shopping lists

‘Thank you to everybody, regardless of how much or how little we collected. It's always a pleasure to experience the generosity of so many Waitrose Barbican shoppers, and we greatly appreciate the help we receive from Waitrose (particularly Marie) and from Colleen, William and Shaun at the Hackney Foodbank.’ 


Katharine, Margaret, Daniel and Judith with a generous shopper

Friday 18 May ‘The Meghan Markle Effect’


This Channel 4 programme filmed in the St Giles’ was transmitted on the eve of the Royal wedding. It a was discussion by a panel of experts and included audience participation on what Meghan will bring to the Royal family and British multicultural society.


If you would like to see how the church was featured - there are some excellent shots of the interior - go to

Sunday 29 April Annual Parish Church Meeting


Following the Parish Eucharist and time for coffee, the Annual Parish Church Meeting started at 11.30 and was again well attended


Katharine chaired the meeting with Gwen Rogers as clerk.


The meeting elected Lorraine Mullins and Tim Middleton as Church Wardens for 2018/19. Katharine thanked Lorraine, Tim and other officers for all their work in the past year and presented them with the usual bars of chocolate each chosen to suit the different individuals.

Penny Sharpe, the Electoral Roll Officer presented the revised Church Electoral with the total of 152 remaining after 8 names had been removed and 4 added. The meeting remembered in silence those who had died this past year, Celia Marshall, Lena McClusky and Ken Thomas.


The following were elected to the Parochial Church Council to fill vacancies (including that of Diana Morgan Gray who was standing down).

PCC until APCM 2021

Mona Henshall, Susan Royce, Penelope Sharpe

PCC until APCM 2019

Wendy Ellis

Continuing members until APCM 2019

John Bryden, Vivian Eliot and Mark Hunter

Continuing member until APCM 2020

Kathryn Elsby, David Freeman, Cath Urquhart and Anne Marsden Thomas

Ex Officio members

Church Wardens, the Alderman of Cripplegate Ward and Deanery Synod Representatives, Gwen Rogers and Daniel Gerring

Joanne Williams was later co-opted to the PCC.

An attentive audience study the next item on the agenda or look at the very informative and excellent Annual Report prepared by Gwen Rogers


The following Sidespeople were elected

Susannah Bagnall, Jeremy Barnard, Sherry Bates, Gail Beer, Gail Davis, Vivian Elliot, Judith Ellis, Wendy Ellis, Christopher Elsby, Kathryn Elsby, Essa Fett, David Freeman, Ros & Simon Freeman, Christopher Gadsden Daniel Gerring, Amanda Gibbon, Diana Morgan Gray, Eileen Hall, Patricia and Roger Hall, Mona Henshall, Louise and Mark Hunter, Paula Jefferson, Cyril Leroy, Nickola Lewis, Paulette and Sidney Lock, John Marshall, Tim Middleton, Roddy and Susana Morriss, Lorraine Mullins, Susan Royce, Dawn Runnicles, Anne Marsden Thomas (not on rota) Catherine Urquhart, Malcolm Waters, Dorothy Webster, Joanne Williams, Peter Woods.

John, our Treasurer guided us through the Income and Expenditure with his own artistic aids This year Financial Times pages had been used to show the difference between Income (white and black) and Expenditure (red and yellow). He then proceeded to cut off pieces from the Income strip to put in his Goody bag to show how the total was made up including, Book fairs, Parish Rate, Grants, Roscoe Street Hall and Legacies. He went on to explain for the unnamed sections of the Income and Expenditure part of the graph that for year on year, Income from donations and the like can hopefully continue to be anticipated, as well as year on year for Expenditure for the Maintenance & Running of the church, but of course excluding the especial contributions in 2017 represented by the items in his Goody bag. We were relieved to see that income exceeded expenditure! John was congratulated and thanked for all the hard work that had gone into preparing the accounts and also to Alan Clements the independent auditor. Full details of the Accounts for 2017 in the Annual Report see below. 


The Annual Report and Financial Statements of the PCC [Registered Charity 1138077] and of its associated endowed charity the Cripplegate Church Sworder Foundation for the year to 31/12/2017 & the Report of the Independent Examiner were approved. 


In her closing remarks Katharine drew attention to the reference to volunteers in the Annual Report which states that ‘The Monetary value of volunteer time…. cannot be accurately qualified. She said it was possible to go into St Giles’ on any day of the week and find volunteers caring for the church, counting money, welcoming visitors and many other tasks. We depend upon this invaluable ministry – of people being generous with their time and skills. The Annual report also reminds us that we are a community on the move: people leave central London and others arrive. This is a challenge for a community not to get too comfortable. There will always be new people to meet and welcome into the church. She concluded with the closing words of the ‘God at Work’ sermon she preached in Lent, ‘It is God at work in our lives that enables me to fathom and make sense of God at work in my own.’


Lorraine spoke for us all when she thanked Katharine for being our Rector, both comfortable and comforting. In times of trouble she is there was for us. When all is well there’s wine in the Rectory garden. Her thanks were greeted with enthusiastic applause. The meeting finished at 12.45.

St Giles' Cripplegate Annual Report
Annual Report 2017.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [5.8 MB]

Easter Sunday - Christ is Risen Alleluia


The greatest and oldest feast of the church when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. In earlier times this was the only time Christians could be baptised.


The family Eucharist at 10.00 was a joyous service with uplifting music to celebrate the risen Christ.


We celebrated Christ’s Resurrection in a practical way during the children's sermon. The children gave members of the congregation yellow ribbons to tie on bare twigs



and yellow flowers to fix to a gold covered cross symbolising death and new life.


While the adults enjoyed coffee and tea after the service the children took part in an Easter Hunt to find chocolate eggs hidden in the church the day before. Katharine ensured fair play by giving the children the colour and number of the eggs they were to hunt for.

Holy Week Events (26-30 March)


This tells us the story of Jesus’ last days on earth, his trial and crucifixion. Services were distinctive with times of silence, for reflection and the music evocative and solemn before the rejoicing of Easter.  


From Monday to Wednesday and Thursday morning, Morning Prayer and Compline were said at the beginning and end of each day and provided a framework for our Holy Week Events. There were also other events during the week. The pews were removed to the side of the church, the linen labyrinth was placed in the nave for prayer and meditation and Essa Flett our former GSMD student played music for meditation before the service of Compline on Monday to Wednesday evenings.


A group of labyrinth enthusiasts gathered in church to spend time reflecting on the labyrinth as a way of resilience. We were reminded that we were walking in a church that has been destroyed over the centuries by fire and bombing, but which still stands. A symbol itself of resilience and the presence of God among God's people. 

Maundy Thursday


The name derives from ‘mandatum novum’. On the night Jesus is arrested, he said to his friends, ‘I give you a new commandment that you love one another’ (John 13 v 34).

In the afternoon the hospitality team came to set up tables for the supper we have each year in the church.

A wonderful selection of food and wine was provided by members of the congregation 

 It was good to be together to remember and share in the Last Supper.


Katharine assisted by Alex and Gail washed feet or hands


A simple form of Holy Communion followed as we stood around the tables and in a dramatic move Katharine knocked the chalice over and the remaining wine was spilt reminding us of things to come and Christ’s blood spilt for us on the cross. The lights in the church were dimmed and we listened to Psalm 22 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? A vigil was kept until midnight in the silent, darkened church except for the candles on the chancel steps lit by members of the congregation as they left the church.

Good Friday


The Day of the Crucifixion – The Service of Three Hours

On the floor of the church, a reminder of Palm Sunday, the Last Supper and the nails of the cross

The First Hour was a service of music, hymns and reading of the Passion narrative by members of the congregation each one following the other with a short break between each reading.

For the Second and Third Hour there were periods of extended silence, with organ music and short meditations led by Katharine. Our time together concluded with a hymn and prayers followed by tea and hot cross buns.

Holy Saturday 26 March


In the morning we gathered not for a service but to prepare the church for Easter Day. The large palms were removed, and the purple and black hangings put away.


The Easter garden was placed by the altar in the Chancel, small Easter eggs hidden, and flowers arranged.

Sunday 25 March Palm Sunday

The Sunday at the start of Holy Week when we commemorate Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem on a donkey.


The donkeys had a good journey from Norfolk and arrived with time to rest and be ready for the start of the service.



As it was fine we were able to gather in the churchyard with our palms and welcome clergy from St Paul’s Cathedral



Trumpeters and drummers played a fanfare as we processed into church carrying palm branches, via the West door for the Liturgy of the Palms.


We held our palms high while they were blessed by Katharine. We all processed twice around the church singing the great Palm Sunday hymn before those and the donkeys went on their way through the City to St Paul’s Cathedral (with assistance from the police to cross roads because of a City run taking place at the same time). The procession was greeted by the St Paul’s clergy and choir in Paternoster Square while those to stayed at St Giles’ celebrated the Eucharist.

11 March Mothering Sunday


John the green grocer told Katharine that there were no daffodils in the market for Sunday but offered pots of primulas instead – in the language of flowers these mean ‘cannot live without you’ - so a worthy replacement for Mothering Sunday and perhaps the start of a new tradition for us.

There were lots of mothers with their children in church for the Family Eucharist. Pots of primula had been placed on the altar and in other strategic spots in the church for the children to distribute at the end of the service.

Members of the Sunday Club were very much involved during the service, doing the readings, intercessions and being part of the processions at the beginning and the end of the service. There was a children’s sermon in which Katharine told the story of Eve with her yellow lily and Mary with her white lily.  


At the end of the service the children were busy again as they gave everyone a primula pot to take home. 

March Book Fair

Congratulations to all the Book Fair Volunteers for raising  £2347.00 despite the weather’s best efforts! Thanks to all who donated and bought books too. A great result.       

Saturday 24 February

Collection for Hackney Foodbank at Barbican Waitrose

The generosity of Waitrose customers to the Hackney Foodbank appeals is remarkable, and February’s collection was no exception. Katharine, Amanda, Sue, Gail, Simon, Margaret and Christopher had a very busy two hours filling three “cages” with 638kg of food donations, enough for 850 meals. William and Katie from the Foodbank then arrived to transport everything to the Hackney warehouse. 

Waitrose, as always, could not have been more helpful, with a special mention to Marie and thanks to Nathan for the photographs. 


Thank you to everyone - Waitrose customers and staff, Colleen, William and Katie from Hackney Foodbank and volunteers. 

Thursday 7 February 13.30-16.00                                    Preventative Conservation Workshop at St Giles’ Cripplegate

Our architect Kelley Christ asked us last year if you would like to be part of a Preventative Conservation student project supervised by Jennifer Dinsmore, tutor in conservation at the City and Guilds London Art School at Giles’ with some of her 2nd year students We thought it a great opportunity to have expert advice and support, as well as helping the students in their studies and for them to have work experience in our ancient building. St Giles’ is in our care and we need to understand how we can best protect and maintain the interior for the future. Our Caretaker Jake, who has the main cleaning and maintenance tasks and the Cleaning Angels that meet once a month to give an extra dust and polish to pews, windows, brass and wood panelling all wanted to make sure that we are using the best products and safest methods. 

Invitations were sent to contacts at our ecumenical churches, City of London churches as well as to our PCC members and Cleaning Angels. A total of 24 attended the workshop. Jennifer and the students arrived early to familiarise themselves with the church and the areas that that they would include, and we were ready to start at 13,30. 

After a welcome from Katharine, the students gave a short presentation with details of the different areas they would be covering and cleaning materials that are safe to use before they moved to their ‘stations’ around the church ready for the rest of us to visit each one in groups of 4 or 5 to learn in more detail about the cleaning methods and preservation of the different materials, including stonework and different metal items. We were also able to ask questions as we went to each of the students. We learnt that all things microfibre are the favoured cleaning cloths and mops of today (not the favourite yellow dusters of old) and always wax polish rather than spray polish that in fact can damage wood.   

We were invited to continue our discussions over a cup of tea and a piece of cake.  

We all thought it was a very useful exercise and look forward to follow-up sessions later. 

Sunday 4 February Candlemas and                      Celebration of the Life of Ken Thomas, 1934-2017


During the Family Eucharist we celebrated Ken’s life including being a member of our congregation for many years. He died on 21 December and his funeral was held in Beckenham with members of the congregation present. 

Ken was born in Milford Haven, Wales in 1934. His loving family were committed Methodists where singing was important.  Ken loved singing and playing football.

At 16 he joined the army becoming an Engineer and Sergeant Major.  In civilian life Ken was a quantity surveyor working on big projects for British Rail and London Councils.


In 1995 Ken and Dorothy met and she was impressed by his fine Baritone voice. They married a year later with a glorious service of blessing at St Giles Church.


In 1998 Ken began a severe mental illness and it was many years before he was well.  Dorothy said ‘Our weekly services at St Giles helped us mentally, physically and spiritually. Singing was the best therapy.  In later years he was honoured to be asked to sing a solo at St Giles when the choir was on holiday.  He always helped at the book fairs and collected money for the Children’s Society. Moorfields Eye Hospital tended Ken and he did a sponsored walk of 4 miles in aid of the hospital when he was 80.


For the last 10 years Ken was a Manager and voted Governor of Oxleas Mental Health Service.  All this was voluntary work.


Ken’s sight became very poor.  He knew he was going blind which frightened him.  On 20th December 2017 we drove to a country shop to buy chocolate treats.  We had fun.  The next day he was taken to hospital.  The doctors could do nothing except keep him pain free.  He died in the evening.  He is greatly missed.’

Friday 19 January Funeral Service within Communion


Lena McCluskey

20 December 1945 - 04 January 2018

Friends and members of the congregation gathered here for Lena’s funeral. Later Katharine and friends went to the City of London Crematorium for the Committal and afterwards celebrated Lena's life with a meal at our local Cote restaurant.  


Lena had been a regular member of St Giles’ for a number of years. She was Portuguese and came to work in the UK many years ago. Doris who she worked with and her family, husband Joseph and daughter Maria have been friends for a long time, they supported her in her last illness and adopted Peter, Lena’s much-loved cat.


After being diagnosed with cancer while in the Royal London Hospital, Lena was later moved to St Joseph’s Hospice where she was lovingly cared for by the staff. She was visited by Doris and her family as well as Katharine and members of the congregation and they were with her when she died peacefully on 4 January.


Lena was a very independent and private person, also kind and generous, bringing fruit for members of the congregation who had been unwell and lighting many candles for her friends and those in need on a Sunday morning. 

Tuesday 16 January 2018 Funeral Service within Communion


Celia Marshall 

24 May 1939 – 26 December 2017

St Giles’ was full of family members and friends of Celia and husband John, to celebrate and give thanks for Celia’s life. in the church where they have been active members since 2006.


Katharine our Rector was assisted during the service by priests, Evan Jones, Christopher Cawrse and Justin Gau, Emma, Celia’s god-daughter read a lesson, the St Giles’ Singers sung beautiful anthems and the organ was played by Anne our Director of Music. A truly beautiful and moving service using the Book of Common Prayer and the King James’ Bible, beloved by Celia.


During the war years Celia and her brother lived with their grandmother in Sutton-in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. In 1959 she became secretary to the Principal of Mansfield School of Art where John was a student, they met and married in 1963. Later, while John was a student at the Royal College of Art, Celia worked for a Knightsbridge management consultancy. Always alert to the current cultural trends, one of these led her to Carnaby Street to buy the iconic tweed cap that was her signature headgear for more than 50 years and on her coffin for her funeral.


In 1969 Celia joined an interior design office, followed shortly afterwards by John that led to the formation of a new company, Marico Furniture Ltd, to design and manufacture furniture. Celia, as head of business management found their first premises, a disused hydraulic pumping station in City Road where they operated until the premises was taken over for development in 1980. During these years they had a weekend cottage in North Norfolk and ‘Jacko’ an Airedale dog. Friends and neighbours remember their house at this time in Arlington Avenue, Islington, ‘as a great social hub of welcome and hospitality, Celia a great listener, always had time for those who needed to talk in confidence. There was always a cup of tea, perhaps a glass of wine to lift the spirits’. On their retirement, they moved to the Barbican to fulfil a lifelong dream.


Celia will be remembered at St Giles’ for her easy and friendly manner, her help on Sunday mornings as sides-person or reader. She was a great helper and supporter of our book fairs and will be much missed. 

Where to visit us:-

St Giles' Cripplegate Church
Fore Street
London EC2Y 8DA


Registered Charity               Number 1138077

From 3 December with the lifting of the lockdown restrictions public worship in churches will again be permitted.  


Sunday 6 December  Advent 2  

10.00 Parish Eucharist 

The church service this Sunday will be broadcast via our YouTube link


Download Music and Readings and Service booklet here


Please click here if you would like to make a donation.


11.00 Virtual Coffee Morning via Zoom 

Join the Coffee Morning here

Weekday Services

08.30 Morning Prayer (Monday to Thursday in the Chancel)



9 and 23 December

Home Prayer Group - Lectio Divina 19.30 via Zoom. To join contact Suzanne Royce


The church is open for private prayer

The church iremains open from 11.00-16.00 Monday-Friday for private prayer. Please observe social distancing and any other instructions required when visiting the church.


Private Prayer and Reflection on first Thursday of the month 

You are invited to join others in church on Thursday 5 November  Please bring the monthly prayer sheet  here. If you are not able to join us, we hope you will continue to pray with us wherever you are.

Future Dates 3 December


Cleaning Angels

The monthly sessions on the first Thursday of the month from 13.30-15.00. 

Future Dates  3 December


2020 Dates of PCC meetings in church at 19.30 


Parish Office Opening Hours

Mon-Fri 11.00-16.00

Tel: 020 7638 1997  

Watch the Ordination of our Curate Alex Norris and other Ordinands in the Diocese of London at St Giles’ by  +Joanne, Bishop of Stepney


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