Activities July-Dec 2020

Thursday 24 December Crib and Christingle Service

Because of the Covid 19 restrictions this year we were unable to have our annual Advent Fair and normally the Christingle Service is on Sunday afternoon at the end of the Fair - this year things were different. The service is always enjoyed by families with small children in our congregation as well as those in the wider community. 


Alex our Curate writes, ‘The Crib and Christingle Service took place on Christmas Eve this year. In the service we learnt about the Nativity, who was present and what happened. Then the Crib was blessed.





(Alex places the Nativity figures at the foot of the altar)


Everyone was given a Christingle and we learnt what they represent, as well as what each part signifies.


Then the Christingle candles, representing Christ the Light of the World were lit, as the church lights were dimmed.


The service ended with prayers and music as we were unable to form a circle around the inside of the church, to process or sing the familiar songs.’

Monday 14 December at 6.30pm Carols by Candlelight

Our annual Parish Carol Service was different this year because of the Covid 19 restrictions and the need to be socially distanced.


Katharine welcomed us, then the choir. already seated under the East Window sang the first hymn, Once in Royal David’s city.

There were readings by the Chuch Wardens and other members of the congregation telling the story of the Nativity. More carols were sung by the choir including  O little town of Bethlehem, In the bleak midwinter and   O come all ye faithful.

There was a more contempetive, peaceful  feeling to the service this year perhaps reflecting the difficult year and a time to remember all who had died, were in hospital and those in the NHS and front line services.


At the end of the service the lights were dimmed as Kathatine and Alex walked through the church lighting candles held by members of the congregation that twinkled like stars in the sky.

Sunday 13 December - Nativity Readings by the Sunday Club


For most of this year members of the Sunday Club have met on Zoom each Sunday and importantly, able to see and talk to their friends while in lockdown or when schools were closed. Usually, the annual nativity play generates a lot of activity for the children beforehand with the writing of an updated nativity play, sourcing of costumes and rehearsals. This year with social distancing things were different.


So, it was good to have the children in church with us at the Parish Eucharist this Sunday. Instead of a play the children read the nativity story coming forward one by one to the front of the congregation as Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the kings to read the Nativity story, some in costume others not.

Sunday 25 October - Celebration of Katharine’s 20 years as Rector of St Giles’ Cripplegate with St Luke’s Old Street.


After the service we celebrated Katharine’s Induction as Rector on St Luke’s Day 2000 by Bishop Richard, former Bishop of London.

At the end of the Notices, Elizabeth played an organ fanfare and Tim one of our Church Wardens with his daughter Alex came to the front of the church where Alex presented Katharine with a bouquet of flowers.


Tim on behalf of all of us all, thanked Katharine for her leadership, ministry and commitment over the past 20 years, reminding us that she had guided us through many world events, some tragic like 9/11, and happy ones like royal weddings. He said that during the current Covid 19 pandemic through her leadership she has guided the congregation and the wider community in prayer and worship in new ways and working together to care and support each other. We all clapped loudly in agreement!  


Alex with her mother Louise, who made a special chocolate and strawberry cake for the occasion.

We enjoyed with coffee and sparkling wine served by Diana - all of us socially distanced!


Thank you Katharine

Sunday 18 October - John at 80


After the service we celebrated John Marshall’s 80th birthday.

Katharine presented him with a card and a bouquet. There was ‘bubbly’ with a splendid cake made by John, the choir sang ‘Happy Birthday’, and we all clapped!


John’s signature iced fruit cakes have become a regular feature of birthday celebrations at St Giles’ and are much sort after from the cake stall at the Advent Fair!

John is a very practical person. His expert knowledge of furniture making has been a great help in deciding on the planned new benches, chairs, and floorboards for St Giles’. He can also turn his hand to repairing or upgrading items – like fitting a small magnet on the door of an old cupboard to keep it shut or re-covering and providing the lighting for the display boards in the church. Thank you, John.

Saturday 3 October, Ecumenical Creation Prayer Walk, Jubilee of the Earth


As it is not possible this October to meet in the different churches of our Ecumenical friends as we usually do to study and pray together, this walk was suggested as a way of meeting up and spending time together in a socially distanced group to visit gardens in the area. It coincided with the final week of the ecumenical celebration of the 2020 Season of the Creation.

We started at Wesley’s Chapel where we were welcomed by Jen Smith who led us into the garden behind the church. Here we saw the tomb of John Wesley and wandered in the garden to admire the trees and the shrubs and to pray. Martin from St Joseph’s reminded us of WH Davies’ poem, ‘What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stop and stare’

We crossed City Road on the next stage of our journey stopping in Bunhill Fields and the burial ground of many dissenters including William Blake and Daniel Defoe.   


It is always a pleasure at any time of the year to walk in the grounds and see the many flowers and shrubs and now the small pale pink cyclamen and the autumn crocus are a joy to see.  This fox suddenly appeared and seemed oblivious of us, but we saw that he/she was watching something, and saw a squirrel coming towards him/her. The fox chased the squirrel who was extremely fast too and quickly found safety up in a nearby tree!

Our next stop was the Barbican Wild Garden, an area on the north side of the Barbican that residents have created and looked after for many years. It is another haven of peace and nature with two ponds and a wild meadow.

Our final stop was to the Quiet Garden at St Joseph’s. This compact garden beside the church with its trees and shrubs, running water and lighting is another haven of peace and tranquillity.


A plaque on the wall says,


This quiet garden is dedicated to the memory of Basil Hume, monk and shepherd 1923-1991.  


Here we shared some moments of reflection and silence and made our intercessions to God. Then the final blessing, ‘May God who established the dance of creation, who marvelled at the lilies of the field, who transforms chaos to order, lead us to transform our lives and the Church to reflect God’s glory in creation,….. now and always Amen.’


So, a gentle and reflective wander with friends at what is a difficult time for us and the world. A time to pause and wonder at the beauty of God’s work around us. The weather forecast suggested heavy rain but although the sky looked very black as we finished our time together no rain came. Our thanks to Martin from St Joseph’s for organising this event and Champo from Carmel in the City for telling us about it.

Sunday 27 September Alex presided at the Eucharist for the first time


Following Alex’s Ordination in St Giles’ the previous Sunday this time we were able to be with and support him when he presided at the 10.00 Eucharist for the first time.


We were glad that so many of his family and friends were able to join him.

Afterwards he was presented with a Prue Cooper plate inscribed with the words, ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you, and I appointed you to go out and bear fruit.’


John Marshall made a delicious fruit cake to go with the coffee and prosecco for the celebration after the service.


Alex says: I'd like to thank everyone who has been so supportive of me this past 15 months as I have prepared for my Priesting, which took place on the 20th September at St Giles, with my presiding at Holy Communion for the first time last Sunday. It has been a privilege to share this journey with you all and will be something that remains with me for the rest of my ministry.  
Additionally, may I offer thanks for the stunning Prue Cooper plate which was presented to me on Sunday. As mentioned at the time John's Gospel is my favourite Gospel, so to have that famous quote from Chapter 15 just makes it all that more special.  Additionally, the case of wine which I received is also much appreciated, and rest assured has gone to a good home. Deo Gratias!

Sunday 20 September at 17.00

Ordination to the Priesthood of our Curate Alex Norris, in St Giles’ by Bishop Joanne, Bishop of Stepney


This year the ordination planned for July was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic but finally took place in St Giles' under current social distancing regulations.

Katharine writes,

‘We don’t know when there was last an ordination at the church. 50 years ago? 100 years ago? These days ordinations to the diaconate are at St Paul’s and the priestings in the parish churches. For Post-Ordination Training the City and Stepney are together and the ordinations alternate between the two areas.


The crucial question when a church is chosen is that it is big enough. Could we seat 250? We have Alex, and we were to have the ordination. In the event, there were two services during the afternoon each with three deacons who could bring just five family members each!

Since joyfully returning to the building in July on Sunday mornings, we have discovered an intimacy to worship. We are spaced apart; we speak but do no sing; we need to reorientate ourselves in the liturgy. The ordinations reflected this new intimacy for us all.


Bishop Joanne let on that it was her first ordination (it was also the first time she had used her new ‘kingfisher’ crosier). The warmth of her love shone through the service. Geoffrey Maughan who had led the retreat reminded us in his sermon that meekness in not weakness.

Tom sang hymns and the anthem ‘Love bade me welcome’ by Vaughan Williams and the full volume of both organs was loudly (not meekly) demonstrated by Anne and Elizabeth playing Widor’s Toccata on both organs as the postlude.


At the end of the service Alex walked with the bishop and other priests through the west door, the music sounding around them and reaching out into the churchyard where members of the congregation were waiting to welcome him. Alex our curate, as a priest in the Church of God.'

Alex reflects,


‘Yesterday was very special for me, and St Giles was such a wonderful church in which to be priested.’


You can watch the Ordination Service on the YouTube page of our website  

Sunday 13 September 2019 Annual Parish Church Meeting (deferred from March 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic)


At the end of the Parish Eucharist Katharine announced that she would be leaving us and retiring in May 2021. After time for coffee, the Annual Parish Church Meeting was held in church with 24 members present.

Katharine chaired the meeting with Gwen Rogers as clerk.


The meeting elected Tim Middleton, Lorraine Mullins and Gail Beer as Church Wardens for 2020/21. Katharine thanked the Church Wardens and other officers for all their work in the past year.


The new Church Electoral Roll was received. There were 122 enrolled in 2019. During the year 2 moved away, two moved into the parish and 4 died. The total enrolled for 2020 was 118.


An attentive audience study the next item on the agenda, or the highly informative and excellent Annual Report prepared by Gwen Rogers.



The following PCC members were elected until 2023 - Anne Marsden Thomas, Catherine Urquhart, David Freeman and Kathryn Elsby.

Existing members elected until 2022 – John Bryden, Wendy Ellis, Vivian Ellis and Mark Hunter, and

2021 - Mona Henshall, Susan Royce, Penelope Sharpe and Malcolm Waters.  

Ex officio members are the Churchwardens, the Alderman for Cripplegate Ward and the Deanery Synod Representatives, Gwen Rogers and Daniel Gerring (both elected until 2023).


The Rev. Alan Clements was appointed Independent Examiner for the 2020 Accounts.

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 31/12/2019 & the Report of the Independent Examiner were approved.


The Treasurer Susan Royce, spoke of the handover from John Bryden, the well-run finances and the healthy reserves shown in the accounts. Owing to the Covid 19 lockdown she anticipated a deficit in 2020 but with reserves that could support 2 years expenditure, St Giles’ was better off than many other churches. She thanked all donors who had continued to support St Giles’, some of whom started giving by standing order and others who had increased their gifts. A scheme to invite musicians to use St Giles’ at cost for recordings saw the London Mozart Players broadcast on the first Saturday it was possible. Tom Kennedy on behalf of the St Giles’ Choir, thanked the PCC for support through the lockdown, especially the sense of belonging to a community when attending virtual coffee after a YouTube service.  


In her closing remarks Katharine reflected, ‘Did we do all that’ since the APCM in April 2019. We have been surviving a pandemic and all the changes and restrictions that we now live by. We have discovered remote worship: Sunday Eucharist filmed initially in the Rectory and later in church; Zoom coffee time, Sunday Club Prayer Group. Friendships in the congregation have been strengthened by pastoral clusters and gifts discovered e.g. cake deliveries by Claris. We have musicians back in church, there was an extended book fair and the lighting project is almost complete. Katharine thanked the Standing Committee and the congregation for their enterprise and support over these past months.

Tim thanked Katharine for her ‘peerless leadership’ during a very difficult year when worship and ministry moved online when churches were closed to limit the spread of coronavirus. He spoke of cherished memories of her time at St Giles’ and looked forward to treasuring her remaining months with us.

Othona 4-6 September 2020

10 of us from St Giles’ spent the weekend in the beautiful and peaceful surroundings of the Othona Community at Bradwell on Sea, Essex.

It was a perfect place to talk, study and pray together after our difficult period of lockdown and isolation because of Covid 19. - a special and holy area with its ancient chapel of St Peter, built on the ruins of a Roman fort by St Cedd of Lindisfarne in 654.

The estuary close by flowing to the sea, the wide-open sky, the wonderful cloud formations, the hospitality of the Othona Community and the perfect weather all added to our feeling of being blessed in sharing this time together.


Katharine and Susan came on Friday after lunch to allocate the rooms and complete other housekeeping jobs and the rest of us arrived by car or train during the afternoon - this year bringing our own bed linen and towels - and we were all ready to enjoy a drink before supper outside in the sunshine.


Normally our Parish weekend at Othona is in June or July but because of the pandemic this was cancelled, so being there much later in the year we noticed the difference in our surroundings – not many flowers and the wild flower meadow already ploughed up requiring a longer walk to the chapel that we could only use on the Sunday. Our other services including Compline were said in the large comfortable lounge in the accommodation block with a log fire burning for us. On Friday evening after supper Katharine led our first workshop ‘Arriving’ that gave us time to think and talk about how we felt about being at Othona and what we hoped for from our stay.


Our theme this year was how to deal with anxiety with our readings and study used to explore this at a time when we have all suffered from anxiety over the past months and to seek ways to cope with it.


 Do not worry…consider the birds of the air and lilies of the field. Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these'. 

After breakfast and Morning Prayer on Saturday we moved outside into the sunshine and a clear blue sky for our first workshop of the day.

 ‘Do not be anxious’ led by David P who talked about anxiety as a medical condition and the various ways this can be treated today. Others gave examples of how they cope with anxiety and we all agreed how important it is to recognise and talk about it with friends or with our doctor when necessary.   


Susan led our second workshop, ‘Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.’  Our reading at Morning Prayer on Saturday was from Matthew 6 when Jesus tells us not to worry about our life, what you will eat, drink or what you will wear.

We were invited to work in pairs to produce a diptych with our interpretation of Solomon in all his glory and the lilies of the field. Susan had brought with her a large selection of pictures, photos, paints, coloured pens, and craft papers to help us in our task.

We spent a happy and creative time with some of us taking the words literally and others being more adventurous! These are our finished diptychs. 


We admire the artwork created during Susan’s session.



Saturday afternoon was free time to walk, swim, deadhead flowers, catch up and sitting in the sun.  

Safe swimming at Othona depends on the tides and a goodly number enjoyed a pleasant swim while others watched or looked after the towels on the shore.

On Sunday morning we were able to use the chapel for Holy Communion with a socially distanced traditional photograph taken afterwards.


Katharine led our final workshop ‘Leaving’ thinking about our time together and what we would be taking away with us.

Before lunch Mona led us in a time of stillness and quiet – standing in the open air listening to the sounds around us, the birds, the wind in the trees, seeing and feeling God’s presence and creation around us. 


After a splendid lunch cooked for us by the young volunteers it was then time to make our way home, refreshed, and thankful for the friendship, faith, and support of each other.


‘be silent - still - aware - for there in your heart the Spirit is at prayer - listen and learn - open and find heart wisdom - Christ.’


Othona Clouds

Although the weather was sunny with blue skies for most of the time, this year some of the cloud formations were amazing.


A rural and peaceful place not much more than an hour from London!

St Giles’ Book Fairs July and August


Two Book Fairs took place during July and August.


In July we raised £2,863.38 and in August £2,886.57 making a grand total of £5,749.95. This was an amazing achievement bearing in mind that although the church had opened again after the initial closure because of the Covid 19 pandemic, the footfall in the City was greatly reduced and many restrictions were still in place.


Many local residents made several visits because after a long period of self-isolation they felt safe to come into the church and have an opportunity to talk to helpers and other visitors as well as finding new reading material to prepare them for any future restrictions that may become necessary.


We thank the dedicated team who sorted hundreds of books, volunteered to staff the fairs, and kept our visitors happy. We also thank those who donated and also bought books.       

Where to visit us:-

St Giles' Cripplegate Church
Fore Street
London EC2Y 8DA


Registered Charity               Number 1138077

Services at St Giles'

Sunday 28  November

Advent 1 

10.00 Parish Eucharist 

For Music and Readings 

 Click here

Weekday Services

There will be no Morning Prayer on weekdays during the Interregnum.



1 December

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


The church is open for private prayer

The church is 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 4 November

If are not able to join us, we hope you will continue to pray with us wherever you are.

Dates for 2021 

2 December. 


Cleaning Angels

The monthly sessions on the first Thursday of the month from 13.30-15.00 including tea and cake.

Cleaning Angels  
Dates in 2021   

Friday 3 December. Please note change of date and day (for December only) . 


2022 Dates of PCC meetings in church at 19.30

Monday 31 January, 

Tuesday 29 March,

Monday 25 July,

Tuesday 20 September

Monday 21 November. 

2022 Annual Parish Church Meeting

Sunday 8 May at 11.30am after the Parish Eucharist.


Parish Office Opening Hours

Mon-Fri 11.00-16.00

Tel: 020 7638 1997

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