Nice church in London

Old Feb 6th, 2004, 05:55 PM
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Nice church in London

I will be in London during the week of Easter, and would like to attend services at a nice church. Denomination doesn't matter as long as it is Christian. I think the bigger churches (Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, St. Paul's) will be too crowded. Any suggestions?
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Old Feb 6th, 2004, 06:12 PM
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Maybe St Martin in the Field (near Trafalgar sq)??
lovely church with a great cafe in the basement.
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Old Feb 6th, 2004, 08:06 PM
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Probably every church/cathedral will be packed at Easter time. You might try a day other than Sunday. For me, an old favorite is St. James's Cathedral. Good luck.
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Old Feb 6th, 2004, 08:32 PM
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St. James Church was absolutely beautiful at Easter, 2002. The flowers were outstanding and their fragrance filled the church.
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Old Feb 6th, 2004, 08:47 PM
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How about the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace? Some of the royal family might be in attendance.
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Old Feb 7th, 2004, 01:15 AM
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I suggest you email Ben Haines. He's a something in his local church and can probably point you somewhere there's community rather than a tourist attraction.
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Old Feb 7th, 2004, 02:49 AM
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Check out parishes at

http://www.london.anglican.org/

I'd recommend the arts & crafts church off Sloane Square, or St Luke's in Chelsea. Their Easter celebrations should be spectacular.

It's also Eastern Orthodox Pascha the same day (very unusually) - the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Santa Sophia on Moscow Road W2 would also be an uplifting way to celebrate the most important day in the church year . . .
HTH!
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Old Feb 7th, 2004, 07:38 AM
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I am attending the service at St Martin in the Field on Palm Sunday. Their website says that before the service, the choir and the Salvation Army Chalk Farm Band are meeting at St James' Park near Admiralty Arch for a procession with palms, led by a donkey, to the church.

On Easter Sunday they have services through the day (in the mid-afternoon one each in Mandarin & Cantonese) starting at 5:30AM and ending at 6PM.

I attended a Wednesday, mid-day Choral Eucharist at the church during holy week two years ago and it was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Keith
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Old Feb 7th, 2004, 08:15 AM
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St Mary Abbott off Kensington High Street is a lovely, welcoming church. Haven't been to an Easter service there, but I imagine it would be quite nice. Don't be afraid of the big churches; we did St. Paul's a few years ago and loved it.
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Old Feb 8th, 2004, 12:58 PM
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We attended Easter service at St. Paul's a few years ago. It was full and we had to sit on one side, but it was lovely. Just get there a bit early.
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Old Feb 9th, 2004, 03:13 AM
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Does denomination really not matter? Mrs F has threatened a divorce over some of the denominations we've chosen to spend Easter with.

Do you really have no preference between a medieval church and a 20th century assembly hall (all London's medieval churches except one are Anglican)

Do you have no preference between a service in modern English, with hymns sung by the congregation, the mass candle-lighting, "Christos Anesti" of the Greek Orthodox vigil ceremony, the three priests, Latin and incense of High Mass at Farm Street, the heavy audience participation in Charismatic churches, and the Palestrina+Byrd, choir-centered, 1662 prayerbook services of the biggest Anglican churches?

Or between the bling-bling billionaire tourists at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, the almost all shabby, white professionals at The Temple or the extraordinary cosmopolitan mix of - among other things - Slovak au pairs, Filipina nannies, Goanese nuns and guilt-struck French and Italian tourists at Westminster Cathedral?

The range of "nice" Christian services is London is probably wider than anywhere in the world. But a few pointers:

- church-going is rare in London, especially among the British. And Easter, however important doctrinally, isn't the day non-church goers see what it's about (in England, that's Christmas). So few churches get full, even at the main Holy Saturday Night or Easter Sunday morning service.
- In fact no churches, except the main Orthodox ones, get full at Holy Saturday Night service. But growing Russian tourism, and the substantial Greek-Cypriot community, are likely to make churches of the two biggest Orthodox faiths difficult to get into at midnight
- The Times publishes each Saturday a list of services, and music, at London's Cathedrals and the 50 or so main churches in central London that take music seriously (which in London means seriously excellent: London's church choirs are easily our most outstanding, and least boasted-of, cultural asset. They knock our over-rated theatre into a cocked hat). Get a copy of this a few weeks BEFORE you come: earlier copies won't tell you what's on at Easter, but wil give you a flavour of the kinds of service the more chorally-minded churches have on offer.
- Most of these churches publish their Holy Week/Easter services on their website from about the beginnning of Lent.
- Almost all this group have complex and chorally glorious services on Maunday Thursday and Good Friday as well. Many also perform other, more obscure, services (like Tenebrae and unusual parts of the Office such as Compline) on other days in Holy Week
- As well as this group, St Dunstan's in The Strand has a lot of altars, and offers them to "orphan" Christian communities, many of them extremely exotic and old (Assyrian Orthodox, for example). Since all celebrate Easter on the same day this year, it's worth checking the church to see who has what service when. Caution: London's Romanian Orthodox community, whose congregations can dominate St Dunstan's, has one of the dullest choirs in the Romanian world.
- Royalty-watchers will be saddened to note that our esteemed Head of State does not attend Easter church in London (she goes to Sandringham). And the Maundy service (where she hands out specially-minted cash) will be held in Liverpool Anglican cathedral this year.

So which is the nicest? Well, only you can choose, Dizzi. Personally I'm still undecided between St Ethelreda's (London's only non-Anglican medieval church) and Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. Both are wonderful: neither is ever crowded.
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Old Feb 9th, 2004, 04:45 AM
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I agree you may get more of a service at a smaller church. However for what it is worth, I went to Easter service at St Paul's last year and there was plenty of seating, even though we arrived about 2 minutes after the service had started. There will be many tourists milling about the back, and the area in the center where the services are held will be roped off, but if you tell the gentlemen at the ropes that you want to attend the service, they will let you through. You really cannot notice the tourists in the back as the church is so large. The organ was something. It would be better to get there maybe 10-15 minutes before the service so you could get a seat in the center aisle, we were on a side aisle and could not see all of the service, although we could hear it without any problem.

There is also a short service on Saturday afternoon at Westminster which had the boys choir signing a capella, very moving. The service stared around 4pm or 4:30 and lasted about a half hour. The cathedral was closed to all visitors others than those attending the service, which was nice. Check with your hotel or ask at the entrance to Westminster about the service.
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Old Feb 9th, 2004, 06:01 AM
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You might browse this site for some insight:

http://www.ship-of-fools.com/Mystery/index.html
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Old Feb 9th, 2004, 06:36 AM
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Sorry, left off half the message. Ship of Fools is a website of reviews of churches worldwide made by mystery visitors. Leans towards Anglican but all denominations are covered. Can be fun to read particularly if it covers a church you are familiar with.
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Old Feb 9th, 2004, 04:25 PM
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If you like relatively informal worship, Holy Trinity Brompton (famous in Christian circles for starting the alpha course) is a friendly church.
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Old Feb 11th, 2004, 01:15 AM
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The Ship of Fools site is wonderful. I'll use that again.
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