Oldest surviving parish church welcomes City workers to Evensong service
St Bartholomew-the-Great, the oldest surviving parish church in London, opened its doors last week for the first in the series of new midweek Evensong services catering for workers in or near the City of London.
The project is in part inspired by the testimonies of the young City workers involved in recent confirmation preparations at St Bart’s, who expressed a desire to replicate the religious communities and styles of worship they had built up at university.
Starting at 7pm, the services consist of well-known, singable hymns, and are followed by food and refreshments from the cloister bar, providing time-poor workers with the opportunity to enjoy the surrounding of St Bart’s, which was founded as an Augustine priory in 1123.
Going forward, the hope is that the service is of particular appeal to former singers, who will have the opportunity to sing alongside a professional choir of eight singers who are helping to support the development of this ad hoc City choir.
The Rector of St Bartholomew-the-Great, the Revd Marcus Walker, said: “Living in London can be an exhausting experience, with friends living far away, work making you stay late, and time for decent religion hard to find. We can offer the hard-pressed denizens of the city the peace and calm of Evensong, with well-known hymns, and a good evening with bangers & mash and wine.”
James, said: “As a City worker who is rarely able to join a service. I spotted this through social media and came along with friends. I thought the choir was astonishing – and the sermon was humorous and intelligent.”
Katarina said: “A great idea to engage local professionals in this beautiful historic church in the City. Finding something peaceful, reflective and tranquil in the middle of our hectic modern life is really important and I definitely found it here this evening.”
Oliver, said: “I moved to London 12 years ago and just can’t face commuting into London on the weekend after a full week working there. I’ve been looking for something like this ever since so that I can continue singing at a high level at a time and day that I can actually do.”