Saturday, October 24, 2015

Westminster Abbey

Being invited to attend a Service yesterday at Westminster Abbey to celebrate  thanksgiving for a girl's school, the original   trustees of which could be traced back to 1698, was a privilege. Being given a  wonderful place in the choir stalls, labelled "Headmaster's Pew"  was slightly confusing as I know the school's head, who is a lady, quite well. Perhaps the "Headmaster" title referred to the Abbey Choir School head.

The building of the Abbey - strictly not now an abbey  but a 'Royal Peculiar' - commenced as long ago as around 1042. For much of its history Westminster Abbey must  have been a catholic church but  subsequently the wayward state of many catholic clergy in the UK and Europe led to the reformation, in which of course King Henry VIII played his part, resulting in the  separation of the Church in England from the Roman Catholic Church from 1534 which  sadly still continues; but that is a digression...

The Abbey was packed with students parents choristers staff  friends and advisers and the music before the service commenced at 3pm was uplifting.

Especially memorable and interesting was the address given by The Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin. She was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica; Ordained  in 1994 when the CoE first ordained women;    was appointed as a chaplain to HM The Queen in 2007 and Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons in 2010 and the service leaflet states:

"She is known for her commitment to challenging institutional racism in the Church and wider society".

Particularly interesting about her address which I imagine in the Catholic  Church would be described as a "sermon", was her stressing to the girls how privileged they are and how important it was for them not simply to strive for the best GCSE and A Level results without also taking into account the fundamental need to use one's qualifications to support the deprived and poor. Indeed she emphasised the pointlessness of obtaining the best examination results if those successes are only used for self advantage.

Westminster Abbey had arranged for the bells to be rung  at the end of the the service and it was wonderful to leave the service through the Great West Door,  to the loud and  uplifting peal of the Abbey bells also being enjoyed by the crowds of tourists outside.

Then on to the reception with much good company conversation and wine.

 A hard afternoon's work!

2 comments:

  1. "...but subsequently the wayward state of many catholic clergy in the UK and Europe led to the reformation, in which of course King Henry VIII played his part, resulting in the separation of the Church in England from the Roman Catholic Church..."

    You said somehere else in your blog that history wasn't really your thing at school, and, with respect, I think this comment confirms that. Have a look at the work of Eamon Duffy, Haigh, and Scarisbrick etc, for a more accurate account of the causes of the Reformation. Whatever may have happened in other parts of Europe, it seems to be well-established now that there was little appetite for religious change among the mass of people in this country, who appear to have been quite happy with the practices and clergy of the old faith.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Many thanks anon for your interesting comment which I shall try to research further.

    ReplyDelete

Employment Tribunals and Covid-19

Having ongoing employment issues being dealt with by the Employment Tribunal system before the Covid-19 pandemic and still continuing after ...