St Giles' Monthly Newsletter

St Giles' March Newsletter


Dear friends


News and diary dates


Sunday services to resume in church from 7 March

From 7 March we will return to social-distanced Parish Eucharists and will endeavour to livestream these via our YouTube channel. We'll provide further details but, in the meantime, recommend you click here and subscribe to our YouTube channel so as to receive notifications of new St Giles' videos.


As for this Sunday, a YouTube video of the service will be broadcast at 10am Sunday from our YouTube channel. A link will be sent tomorrow along with music and readings. 


Zoom Coffee

This Sunday's service will be followed at 11am by a zoom coffee meeting. Click here to join.


Sunday Club meets each Sunday on Zoom. Details via Dave Archer


Morning Prayer in church, Monday – Thursday 8.30am and there will be socially distanced Private Prayers in the chancel on Thursday 4 March 1pm.


Lent 2021

Mondays at 8.00pm

Ecumenical Compline in Lent on Zoom

1 March, 8 March,15 March and 22 March

Click here for the zoom link 

Meeting ID: 861 335 9824

Click here for the Compline order of service


Tuesday Lent Course

Alex is running a weekly Lent course every Tuesday from 7-7.40pm on Zoom, based on Stories, 'Our story and God's story'. Contact Alex to register  Click here for the zoom link


Alternate Wednesdays - Lectio Divina

10 and 24 March, Home Prayer Group - Lectio Divina 19.30 via Zoom. To join contact Susan Royce


Christian Aid ‘Count Your Blessings’ Lent 2021

Lent journey in 2021 with themes of awareness, repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, transformation and blessing. Follow online   via


Sunday 14 March - Mothering Sunday with flowers for everyone


Sunday 28 March – Palm Sunday – no donkeys this year. Clocks go forward


Holy Week Monday 29 March to 3 April


Come and walk the labyrinth in Holy Week


29 Monday in Holy Week 6 – 8pm Space to Pray

8pm Compline


30 Tuesday in Holy Week 6 – 8pm Space to Pray

8pm Compline


31 Wednesday in Holy Week 6 – 8pm Space to Pray

8pm Ecumenical Tenebrae



New furniture


Please come a try out the new oak benches and chairs, made in Yorkshire.


Weekdays the church is open 11am to 4pm.





Treasurer wanted

Susan Royce is leaving the Barbican to go and live with her parents outside Cambridge. She has been a most efficient Treasure and we only wish she weren’t on the move. We are looking for someone to take over from her at APCM at the end of April. If you would like to know more about what being the church treasurer involves, please be in touch with Susan


Suggestions for things to do each week in Lent in no particular order

1 sing a hymn a day

mail.com2 send a picture postcard to a friend

3 take a walk

4 sit still in silence for 10 minutes

5 move with Mona – recreate the centering exercises we did together at Othona.


The Book Fair will return - when non-essential retail is permitted, potentially from mid-April. Please hang on to your book donations for now as our storage space is limited. 


A thought provoking and hopeful read

Diana writes...

This book is a collection of weekly meditations that Rowan Williams wrote from May to September 2020 for the congregation of St Clement’s Church, Cambridge where he assisted when he was Master of Magdalen College, Cambridge before retiring to Wales at the end of the year.


As one commentator wrote, ‘Candles in the Dark will be welcomed by all who are looking for light in these dark times. written with warmth and compassion, it will challenge you, nourish you and leave you fresh resources for faith to guide you through a still uncertain future.’


In the first meditation for 26 March 2020 Rowan Williams writes, ‘As we contemplate the coming months.... it’s worth thinking how already the foundations have been laid for whatever new opportunities God has for us on the far side of this crisis.’


The book is published by SPCK and I bought it online from the Church House Bookshop for £9.99.


By popular request pancakes continued

When some of us Zoomed on Shrove Tuesday it was commented that having to go out and buy lemons, flour, eggs, butter, milk and sugar rather defeated the object of making pancakes with what was left in the cupboard before the fast of Lent. One of us remarked that you wouldn’t get very good results from the debris in her cupboards: frozen peas, cat biscuits and ground up paracetamol.



Phoebe flips in the kitchen with conventional ingredients.






And two reflections on flatness (as in flat as a pancake)


Amanda’s flat life in Rome

In 1990, looking for a change of scene I took advantage of my big international employers to see a bit more of the world.  A favourite manager had done a stint in Rome and recommended it so I thought I would give it a go.  If you were charitable you could describe my gung-ho attitude to preparing for life in Rome as “God will provide”.   I failed to make even the most basic inquiries about where I would live and my pre-departure efforts to learn Italian were nothing short of negligent.  But thankfully He did provide.


When I got to Rome, I found a fearsome British secretary at the firm.  She was living with her Italian lover and her own flat was lying empty, probably because of the astronomical rent she was asking for it. I persuaded her to let me have it at a price I could (only just) afford while she continued her longer-term quest for the ideal tenant. And so, I got the keys to a lovely first floor flat in a typically Roman mansion block for eight months and learnt to live on my own, to appreciate shutters rather than curtains and sleep through the night-long howling of police sirens.


The flat was sizeable and reflected its owner’s priorities – a petite and basic kitchen, a roomy and luxurious bathroom and acres of marble on the floor.  Its archaic sofa bed ensured a stream of UK visitors, delighted by free accommodation in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  In between my visitors I made friends in unlikely places – the newsagent who saved me the Economist every week, the market stall holder where I shopped every Saturday and the lovely old concierge who rescued me from so many small disasters even though we were largely incapable of understanding one another.


Editor’s observation

When we went to Rome on pilgrimage together, we stayed in a former seminary. No luxurious bathrooms or acres of marble floors.


A flat place

Susan has returned to live in the flatlands

The one thing that everyone knows about East Anglia is that it is flat.  Whilst there are hills inland and cliffs along the long coastline, they are pretty modest in comparison with the Cotswolds let alone the Lake District.  The mistake people make is to assume that flatness translates into a boring lack of drama or the absence of beauty.  The power of the East Anglian landscape lies in its openness to the sky and its undeniable debt to the people who reshaped the land and the water into a place to live, farm and worship.


Everywhere in East Anglia the sky dominates the view.  Endlessly changing, full of vast cloud scapes of divergent forms, one following the other in sequences of infinite variety.  Sky watching is a way of life here.


Nowhere else outside are cities is the imprint of people on the land so strong.  The straight lines of fen drainage and enclosed arable fields try to hold back creation’s desire for complexity and curves.  Views become abstract compositions of grids and blocks of green, blue and black.


With little industry until the recent arrival of the hi tech industries of Cambridge, most of the region’s towns and cities retain a medieval core, with streets layouts and buildings on a human scale that predate the car and the lorry.  And the churches are glorious from Long Melford, Lavenham and Thaxted to the cathedrals of Norwich and Lincoln, not forgetting King’s College Chapel.  All welcome in the light from the great East Anglian skies.


Calendar for March 


1 March – David Bishop of Menevia

St. David’s Day celebrations – the highlight of Mona’s school year.

The day opened with nervous excitement for we would be delivering the memorized and stored words and music, rehearsed and practised over the previous month in time for the polished final performance on stage of the Majestic Cinema, the poshest of the town’s three cinemas, all red velvet and pretend gilt! The school hall was never able to accommodate the whole school simultaneously so for this very special day we were all directed to the luxurious surroundings which added to the frisson of the anticipated day. School uniform, freshly pressed had to be worn embellished with a rosette in one of the house colours, red, (Arfon) blue (Segontium), green (Gwynedd)or yellow(Eifion). To have reached this point, the finalists had survived a number of eliminating rounds, and if the winner, would collect valuable points for the house, The Eisteddfod, a competition based festival, offered many categories to reveal a talent in music or the spoken word whether performing as a soloist or as a member of an ensemble.


The announcement of the penillion singing competition brought a hush to the audience in anticipation of the skill which this discipline needs in performing an independent melody over a contrapuntal bass accompaniment. Reverential applause was awarded to each of the competitors who in turn had been listened to in awe and respect at the apparent ease and manner that each of the performers  renders in the delivery of their folk song As the day progressed the running total of marks was declared at intervals, the rank order constantly moving  from house to house and bringing with it a share of jubilation or dejection but there was one more trophy to fight for, the climax, the eagerly awaited final hurdle, and which carried with it lots of marks, the four house choirs.  Each member would have to sing in one of the four parts,  with ‘hwyl’ and gusto, the random distribution of rosettes in the audience adding a tense and not always silent support, the success or not would last the year, the reputation  hung on this important final item. When the adjudicators returned with the results, the auditorium erupted with cheering and joy, the losing houses always being magnanimous in their congratulations.


Emotionally drained and wearing a limp rosette, we made our way home, enjoying a bonus of having half an hour shaved off the usual length of the school day, we looked forward to being fed Welsh cakes and to next year’s auditions!


2 March - Chad

Chad, pupil of Aidan who established Christianity in Northumbria during the reign of King Oswy (634-42). Chad spent some time at the monastery of Lindisfarne where with this brother Cedd (of Othona fame) he was taught by Aiden and also had part of his education in Ireland.


In 644 he succeeded Cedd as Abbot of Lastingham on the North Yorkshire Moors. Later King Oswy decided to consecrate him Bishop of Northumbria in a ceremony under the authority of the Celtic bishops rather than that of the newer Roman tradition.


Gail was thwarted from visiting Lindisfarne in 2020. Gail is not easily thwarted.



7 March - Perpetua and Felicity 203CE who sang as they entered the arena to be martyred.

From our singers Penny and Amanda

We talked about singing. We found that we both come from singing families, sang ever since we could remember, and grew up listening to Alfred Deller and singing with choirs.


How is singing live different from recording? A: It’s easier to get the sweep of a piece. P: It’s a much more direct form of communication. Recording, you have to have a bigger imagination. A: And hope the phone doesn’t ring. I imagine what Anne would say to improve it.


How do we know when we have had a ‘good sing’? P: I think it’s a physical thing, everything clicks together. It could be in a musical line, or what it’s for in a service. A: A feeling of having contributed. With older music, we connect to everyone who has said, sung or heard that before. Because the instrument is in the body, it’s very direct. P: When you’re singing together, you can feel the vibrations of the voices together. And having Anne there, she’s part of the ensemble, inspiring us.


We thought about Saints Perpetua and Felicity who sang as they were about to be martyred. A: For someone to sing when they are about to die, that takes such physical calm. P: Imagine knowing you were going to die. A: Even singing at funerals… P: You get choked up. A: So defiant for them to sing. And if they sang a hymn, again there’s that connection.

P: It’s very powerful singing a hymn alone. A: I’ll listen to the rest of you differently in hymns now. P: Some of those have been lovely to do, a good experience, very meditative. A: Yes, singing separately, and reflectively, at home. Then you come back into the world. Maybe like a silent retreat. But without the silence!


8 March - Edward King Bishop of Lincoln: Teacher

by David P who we usually think of as a doctor.

Teaching is in the spotlight this year. Covid-19 has disrupted the education of children and young people at schools and universities, and teachers have developed innovative tools and strategies to maintain learning.


Learning and teaching are a central part of my work in postgraduate medical training at Health Education England, and in my clinical practice as a GP. I teach a group of junior doctors, but I last saw them in person early in 2020 and I miss the weekly opportunity to meet face to face with them to reflect on their training and professional development, and to offer pastoral support.


Online teaching is a necessity during Covid-19, but it is not ideal. For many people the home is not a suitable place of learning, due to lack of space or IT resources, and sadly for too many children and families, the home is not a place of safety (something I am very aware of in my safeguarding work as a GP). Didactic teaching has only a limited role in medical education, and effective learning is about more than personal study. Education is also a social human activity, and learning together is a creative opportunity for exploration and imagination, to test ideas, and to experiment. In this way, learning can be a joyful and lifelong journey. This will resume again when Covid restrictions ease.


Doctors in training develop as a ‘community of learning’ – enabling them to discuss the complexity of their clinical work, and to reflect on mistakes and challenges and ethical questions within a supportive group. Similarly, we learn together as a community of faith at St Giles, supporting each other as we explore how to live our faith. I have so valued our Youtube services, and our Zoom virtual coffee mornings – but I also look forward to the time when we can greet each other again in person.


17 March - St Patrick by Brigid

St Patrick's Day, throw your coat away! " Every year my Dad would say this and every year my Mum would remind him that we lived on the windy North East coast of Northern Ireland, not the Costa del Sol.


St Patrick's day was and still is, a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics. This meant that schools were closed for the day but in exchange for that we all had to attend Mass. My Father was a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society and one of his many duties was to collect the cash offerings as the congregation arrived at the chapel. So, sadly for my brother, sister and me that meant we had to always arrive thirty minutes early and try to sit patiently under the stern and watchful gaze of the priest, who was preparing for the service. I was the youngest, so was always being reprimanded for talking and fidgeting. As we all got older, we were each found chores to do, to keep us occupied for that half hour.  One such chore was to hand out shamrock for buttonholes to anyone who hadn't found any in their own garden. The shamrock symbolised the Holy Trinity. Another chore was lighting the candles or placing the bookmarks in the Bible for the readings. Not that dissimilar to some of the preparations on a Sunday at St Giles.


St Patrick's Day was a special day, a day of celebration. As a child I remember we always had a fancy dinner with roast chicken and were given a bar of chocolate, which was a real treat. Any penance or hardship for Lent was excused for children on that day.  We were not forced to wear green or believe in leprechauns, but we did enjoy some of the folklore! My family often went to a local feis (festival), where there was Irish dancing, traditional music and storytelling. We listened to tall tales of how St Patrick banished snakes from Ireland and how he was captured and brought as a slave to Ireland by fierce pirates.  Our family home was very close to the mountain, Slemish, where tradition had it that St Patrick worked as a shepherd for many years. So often on St Patrick's Day, we would climb Slemish which took about one hour, over very rough terrain and once we reached the summit we would rest to say a prayer and then have a picnic. It was a pilgrimage of sorts and lots of people still do the same climb every year with the same intention.


This year I look forward to St Patrick's Day 2021 and being able to celebrate with a takeaway coffee and a walk with a friend.


29 March - John Keble by the unambitious and poetic Christopher

John Keble (1792 - 1866). In many ways he is exactly the type of person who should be remembered, but a blameless life with no miracles and no martyrdom does not mark him out for attention nowadays.


“He was absolutely without ambition, with no care for the possession of power or influence, hating show and excitement, and distrustful of his own abilities. Though shy and awkward with strangers, he was happy and at ease among his friends, and their love and sympathy drew out all his droll playfulness of wit and manner. His head 'was one of the most beautifully formed heads in the world,' the face rather plain-featured, but redeemed by a bright smile; and under a broad and smooth forehead he had 'clear, brilliant, penetrating eyes which lighted up quickly with merriment kindled into fire in a moment of indignation.”


Brilliant, he won a scholarship to Oxford at 14, graduated with a double first at 19, and was elected a Fellow of Corpus Christi. He was ordained Priest at 24.


He wrote a collection of poems published in 1827 as The Christian Year which ran to 95 editions in his lifetime. Some survive as hymns. Keble was Oxford Professor of Poetry for ten years, and from 1836 until his death thirty years later he was priest of a small parish in the village of Hursley, near Winchester.


Most famously, Keble with John Henry Newman and Edward Bouverie Pusey founded the Oxford Movement, seeking a revival of the High Church tradition which can be traced back to Lancelot Andrewes, a former vicar of St Giles’. Four years after his death, Keble college was built and named in his honour.


The Doctor writes

Dear Friends,


Still sequestered in my northern retreat I asked Dr B.B. to inspect my flat this week, and what a wise move that was. No sooner had she opened the door than she was knocked to the ground by a scurry of squirrels that had made themselves at home in my absence. Some fool (and that can only have been me) had left the balcony windows open. Apparently, The Nutcracker Suite was blaring out from the Hi-Fi system - clever things these little ‘nutkins’ - and there were letters of complaint from the neighbours. The balcony itself is now home to ducks, pigeons and other avian friends preparing their nests for ‘La Primavera’ that is just around the corner.


Canon Kenny somehow got wind of the above and suggested I sublet to Saint Francis. I suggested he stick to the day job and forget any notion of stand-up comedy. Canon Kenny also sought my advice on what to watch on lockdown television. I recommended ‘It’s a Sin’. I had found the depiction of the arrival of AIDS amongst London’s gay community during the 1980’s poignant and thought provoking, and a reminder of my days in practice many years ago.


Back at the surgery now, Dr B.B. is busier than a pancake maker on a Shrove Tuesday stove. As well as coping with patients’ self-inflicted blows from frying pans, she is overwhelmed with pandemic related home visits and vaccinations. How fortunate we are to have our NHS. Do remember her and her colleagues in your prayers.


Finally, Canon Kenny has asked me to remind you all to put your clocks back on Sunday 28th of March. He has ‘a cracker of a sermon’ lined up and doesn’t want anyone to miss it!


Stay safe, stay well.


Dr. Lauderdale Spratt etc. (failed).


The Royal Family




A bunch of Royal Duchy daffodils for the Queen on St David’s Day



On Mothering Sunday, as a treat,  her children and grandchildren bring the Queen breakfast in bed.





Pets corner 


Here’s Fred with his candle (celebrating Candlemas) his dog Beethoven, and his hot chocolate.




Nicest thing said to Katharine in recent days

I have realised that if you were a sofa, we’d get loose covers made for you and go on like that rather than buy a new sofa.


Take a Walk


The Queenhithe mosaic

Queenhithe, a ward between Puddle Dock and Southwark Bridge named for Queen Matilda (1080-1118), wife of Henry I. Before that, it had been the site where Alfred the Great re-established the City in 886 after it had been abandoned by the Romans. No cyclists or skateboarders on those days.

In 2014, a 30 metre-long mosaic at Queenhithe on the east side of the dock (hithe) designed by Tessa Hunkin and executed by South Bank Mosaics was installed.  Queenhithe Ward Club paid a visit to South Bank Mosaics when the mosaic was being made and Susanna ‘precisely and adroitly inserted a piece of tessera’. (Presumably she waited to be invited to do so). Susanna and Roddy were then privileged to be invited to attend the official opening in 2014.

The mosaic squeezes in 2,000 years of history from the late Iron Age to the 2012 Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, and is historically and archaeologically accurate, highlighting historic events, conquests, fires, plague, people, buildings, revolts, more plague, plants, fish, birds and animals. The top and bottom borders incorporate finds from local mudlarking including shells and coins and tiles and brooches, and through the middle flows the ever changing, never changing Thames. It is well worth quite a long stare, but watch out for cyclists and skateboarders.


Ros, the Happy Gardener, is looking forward to March


Newness. New life – the crocus, the primrose tufts, the budding twigs. The dead wood that’s not so dead, the bud belying an unfurled leaf waiting its moment. What joy!

And then, the warmer sun calling us out of doors…


Time for pruning the dead stems and climbers, and the faded flower heads that really have no life but gave shape and form to a grey-brown palette. There’s work to be done. “If it flowers before June, don’t prune”, so my pruning book says. Well, the forsythia bush has missed its moment, but there’ll be a Medusa head of glorious yellow leading the eye to the bottom of the garden in a month or so’s time. Still time to prune the Wisteria though, if I’m quick (my book says two times a year, once in January-February). Back to two or three buds on the shoots of last year’s growth. My brain always wrestles with pruning instructions. However, a rampant climber like a bird’s nest is not needed in a smallish urban garden, but the pendulous lilac blooms are a delight, and the more, the merrier.


Colour is beginning to appear. I’m sure some of the bulbs don’t flower in the first year or so after planting, and then suddenly this year there are daffodils in the border that I don’t remember about, and crocuses I’d forgotten about too. Three, bought, cobalt-blue hyacinths have been expelled from our living space onto the terrace. There the bees can profit and home-in on the scent that gets up our noses, and we can enjoy the bold colour. Next in line to flower are the tulips, but tantalisingly, they’re not in bloom yet…


Keep safe everyone, keep well and keep going.


May the God of love protect us


Love from





St Giles' Parish Office 

020 7638 1997  
St Giles’ Church
Fore Street, Barbican
London, EC2Y 8DA

Where to visit us:-

St Giles' Cripplegate Church
Fore Street
London EC2Y 8DA


Registered Charity               Number 1138077

Services at St Giles’

Sunday services will resume in church from 7 March.


Sunday 7 March  Lent 3

We will be livestreaming the service at 10am on Sundays via our YouTube page here

For Music and Readings 

Click here

Virtual Coffee Morning at 11am. 

Click here to join.

Weekday Services

08.30 Morning Prayer (Monday to Thursday in the Chancel)


10 March and 24 March         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 March  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.

Dates for 2021 

1 April, 6 May, 3 June, 1 July, not in August, 2 September, 7 October, 4 November, 2 December. 


Cleaning Angels

The monthly sessions on the first Thursday of the month from 13.30-15.30 including tea and cake.

Cleaning Angels is suspended until further notice. 
Dates in 2021 

1 April, 6 May, 3 June, 1 July, not in August, 2 September, 7 October, 4 November, 2 December. 


2021 Dates of PCC meetings in church at 19.30 (all currently on Zoom)

23 March

w/b 3-May Supper*
22 June

* in the Rectory at 7.30pm


APCM Sunday 25th. April 2021

for more information click  here


As many of you know, our Rector Katharine Rumens is to retire in May after 20 years at St Giles. Please make a donation to show your appreciation of her ministry here.  Donate


Parish Office Opening Hours

Mon-Fri 11.00-16.00

Tel: 020 7638 1997

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