I suppose that’s our equivalent of an ‘elevator pitch’? 

It sort of says it all.

Clever marketing is everywhere these days. Some of it obvious, some of it very subtle in its power and influence.

Everywhere we look (online and in person) we are being promised something. Promised (explicitly or otherwise) that if only we clicked on this or bought that, that we could be made to look, feel, possess: X, Y or Z. It’s everywhere!

In public life too, the currency of promises is in a strange place:

– Recently the King made a set of life-long promises – billions watched on telly. 

– This summer we will delight in helping marrying couples make life-changing promises to each other at St Giles’. (Incidentally, marriage rates have dropped in the UK, but so have divorce rates. It seems that fewer people wish to get married, but those that do are more likely to ‘stick’. At St Giles’ we rejoice to help anybody we can get married or have their marriage blessed, if they wish.)

– Meanwhile, the promises of politicians and other public figures seem to have less and less sticking power expected of them.

‘Coffee after Church, life after death’.

It may seem like a low bar to set our promise to you. But the coffee is pretty good! 

No, seriously. 

Let me explain.

We have begun a new pattern of midweek worship at St Giles’. Mostly 20 minute pit stops of prayer – spread across the day and the week. Quiet, contemplative services, designed to feed the soul and make regular worship possible for people with lives full of other things. We busily attend to our cultural, social, physical, financial well-being – we want to help everyone attend to their spiritual wellbeing too. 

On Wednesday, for example, as well as Morning Prayer (8.30-8.50am) and Evening Prayer (5.30-5.50), there is a simple said Eucharist at 10 – 10.20am (including 5 mins silent meditation) followed by coffee in the Rectory. A little later there is a lunchtime Bible Study 12.30-1.00pm, also with hot drinks (and BYO Lunch if it suits).

We hope that this prayerful pattern will be a gift to everyone in our parish neighbourhood, whether they come or not. We don’t want to over promise. We aren’t marketing a product or selling you anything. Promise.

We are simply seeking to offer hospitality, build community, and help each other spend time with God. Ah. There. You’ve caught me. Ok. I do want you to spend…

To SPEND time with God. To squander time (very precious after all) to the mystery of love in worship. It’s about bearing the cost and still doing life on purpose with others and God.

And talking of purpose – I’ve said plenty about ‘coffee after church’. 

What about ‘life after death’?

I’m writing this at the tail-end of Eastertide. The Barbican is Spring-ing into life and I am remembering how magical my first Spring here was, after I arrived at St Giles’ in May 2022. The ducklings and green leaves, the cascading light and breathtaking skies: they sing of renewal and resurrection. In so doing they reflect the reality at the heart of the Gospel: that because Jesus died and came back to life, death is no longer a full-stop. Death’s power has ben broken, and life (with all its beauty and purpose) will continue through the gate of death, into an eternal adventure. 

All that is God’s promise to us, made in Christ.

So, you see, I can’t make many promises in the short term. I’ll leave the big stuff to God, thank God. And God doesn’t need my amateurish attempts at marketing!

We can only offer St Giles’ as what it has always been: an ancient well-spring of people and God, doing hospitality and community and worship. It is a promise we mean to keep – so do come along for the ride. Why not make one or two of our midweek 20-minuters a regular feature of your week? 

‘Coffee after the Eucharist, life after death.’

Perhaps that’s what it should say on our tin? 

The Reverend Canon Jack Noble
Rector, St Giles Cripplegate