Thursday, 5 April 2012

The United Guilds Service at St Paul’s Cathedral

On Friday March 23, we attended the 70th Service of the United Guilds of the City of London at St Paul’s Cathedral. The Lord Mayor’s dinner is traditionally held the night before this service – see earlier blog.

This service originated from a meeting of the Masters and Prime Wardens of the Twelve Great Livery Companies, held at the Goldsmiths’ Hall on February 1, 1943. It was decided to hold a service in St Paul’s Cathedral for the Livery Companies and Guilds of the City of London. The idea was to help lift the spirits of the City following the Blitz of the Second World War. Having regard to the religious origins of the Companies, the first day of the year according the Julian calendar – Lady Day - was selected, Thursday March 25, 1943.

As far as records show, this was the first time all the Companies and Guilds combined to hold a service and remains one of the few occasions when we all gather together with the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs as a whole.

Every time I travel and marvel at the glories of Florence or Paris or Berlin, I come back to London and come into one of our great cathedrals or galleries and wonder why I ever need to leave London. St Paul’s in all its glory at a service like this with wonderful music and, yes, all the pageantry of the Church and the Civic City, is wonderful.

The Needlemakers’ Charitable Fund supports a chorister at St Paul’s. A chorister is chosen on merit to wear the jewel for the year and recognised for his achievement and a chorister is selected according to need and the bursary is awarded anonymously. This is a rather gracious way of visibly marking achievement while quietly and privately doing some good.

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