(A message from Katharine Rumens)

Dear friends,

Services and events

Palm Sunday
We will be livestreaming the service this Sunday from 10am although those who feel able are very welcome to attend in person.
Click here to find the video on our YouTube channel. And remember, the clocks go forward this Sunday!
Please click here for the Palm Sunday service booklet.
Click here if you would like to make a donation.
No more Zoom Coffee now services (and coffee) are resuming in church
Sunday Club meets each Sunday on Zoom. Details via Dave Archer davidjrarcher@hotmail.co.uk
Morning Prayer in church, Monday – Thursday 8.30am and there will be socially distanced Private Prayers on the chancel on Thursday 1 April 1pm.
Holy Week
March 29, Monday in Holy Week 6 – 8pm Space to Pray
8pm Compline
30 Tuesday in Holy Week 6 – 8pm Space to Pray
8pm Compline
31 Wednesday in Holy Week 6 – 8pm Space to Pray
8pm Ecumenical Tenebrae

1 April Maundy Thursday, supper from 7.30pm, service 8 o’clock. For those who wish to eat together before the service – we are not sharing food – bring a sandwich for yourself. Mugs of soup and glasses of wine or fruit juice will be available. Please let us no if you’ll be attending by signing the list at the back of church or emailing admin@stgileschurch.com

Easter Day 4 April 10am Parish Eucharist for everyone

Looking ahead

APCM 25 April

It is a great relief to be back in church this year for Holy Week with its rhythms of music and meditation. We will welcome our Ecumenical friends for Tenebrae on Wednesday evening . On Maundy Thursday our catering arrangements are different,: those who wish to can bring food (not to share) and our kindly bakers, Charis and Tim will provide take away home-made hot cross buns for us to enjoy at breakfast on Good Friday.

On Good Friday we read the Passion Narrative and wait in prayer till 3.00pm, the third hour when Jesus died on the cross.It is the most moving and extraordinary week in the church year. On Easter Day the silence and the shadows are cast away as we greet the risen Christ. God’s triumphant love conquers evil, death and decay.
Alleluia, Christ is risen!

Other news…

A left-out saint from March
Joseph the Carpenter Feast Day 19 March
John Marshall writes
In the Summer of 1963 at the Royal College of Art we were given a ‘major task’ to be carried out during the vacation. Working from home for six weeks, in a basement flat with no contact with peers or tutors in those pre-internet days, no phone or access to a library, in effect some aspects of an early experience of lockdown. The hypothetical project was to design furniture for a Georgian House in Bedford Square for use by visiting diplomats. But what we were not told was that success in the project could lead to an invitation to design furniture for the senior and junior common rooms in the new college campus in Kensington Gore. An obvious approach for the Bedford Square project would have been to create traditional designs with an emphasis on arts and crafts. However, I had been studying Modernism in design eg De Stijl and the Bauhaus and this became a huge influence in my work. I came to the conclusion that Georgian architecture and design could work with Modernism in a truly classic sense. I therefore developed designs in wood, steel, glass, textiles and leather. I relished the opportunity to work with the old and the new to try out my concept which appealed to my tutors and I was selected to design furniture for the new campus. This became the focal point of my degree show! Combining the old and the new sympathetically continued to be of great interest to me. By chance Celia’s mother was an antique dealer and we were given several period items, eg early carved oak chests and a gilded mirror, to use with my modern designs in our home. I believe the concept also applied to the ancient church of St Giles’ with the introduction of the modern 40/4 stacking chairs.
From the (more useless) correspondence in the Rector’s in box
Q. Why don’t the four pinnacles on the tower match?
A. That egregious pinnacle: the north west corner of the tower contains the spiral staircase to the ringing and bell chambers and access to the roof.
Thank you. I love “egregious pinnacles”. Harry Potter and the Egregious Pinnacle. Poor thing, she’s under the doctor again with her egregious pinnacles. 

The Royal Family on Easter Day

#1 Boiled eggs all round at the Royal breakfast time on Easter Sunday

#2 The Royal family and duck attend morning service at St Giles’ Cripplegate

#3 Easter egg hunt before luncheon – such fun!

Some benches have plaques thrust upon them

Our new benches have made us sit up and take an interest in how we choose to make our mark. Christopher started his journey to plaque enlightenment when he spotted this:

And the theme of Plaques ancient and modern emerged:

The oldest plaque in the world may be this Sumerian one from 2400BCE in the British Museum.

The oldest surviving blue plaque in London is that on 3 King Street in Westminster, marking the spot where Napoleon III lived in 1848. It was installed in 1867.

A plaque on both your houses (from The Times):

A monumental plaque:

In the year of Christ 1666, on the 2nd September, at a distance eastward from this place of 202 feet, which is the height of this column, a fire broke out in the dead of night, which, the wind blowing devoured even distant buildings, and rushed devastating through every quarter with astonishing swiftness and noise. It consumed 89 churches, gates, the Guildhall, ‘public edifices, hospitals, schools, libraries, a great number of blocks of buildings, 13,200 houses, 400 streets. Of the 26 wards, it utterly destroyed 15, and left 8 mutilated and half-burnt. The ashes of the City, covering as many as 436 acres, extended on one side from the Tower along the bank of the Thames to the church of the Templars, on the other side from the north-east along the walls to the head of Fleet-ditch. Merciless to the wealth and estates of the citizens, it was harmless to their lives, so as throughout to remind us of the final destruction of the world by fire. The havoc was swift. A little space of time saw the same city most prosperous and no longer in being. On the third day, when it had now altogether vanquished all human counsel and resource, at the bidding, as we may well believe of heaven, the fatal fire stayed its course and everywhere died out. *[But Popish frenzy, which wrought such horrors, is not yet quenched.] * These last words were added in 1681 and finally deleted in 1830.”

Not a plaque, really, but if you haven’t seen it, the inscription of a passage from Oliver Twist on a modern stone bench/sculpture in the Rotunda Garden in Smithfield is already being obliterated by time:

“It was market-morning, the ground was covered nearly ankle deep with filth and mire a thick steam perpetually rising from the reeking bodies of the cattle and mingling with the fog which seemed to rest upon the chimney-tops hung heavily above the whistling of drovers, the barking of dogs, the bellowing and plunging of oxen, the bleating of sheep, the grunting and squeaking of pigs, the crowding, pushing, driving, beating, whooping and yelling, the hideous and discordant din that resounded from every corner of the market.”

The nearest blue plaque is this one in Chiswell Street.

An honest plaque

And a wrong righted

Who were Biggles, Algy and Ginger?


The last word, perhaps?

Stray childhood memories of Easter

‘Similar to ‘no post until the car’s unpacked’, after a family holiday, was the order ‘no Easter eggs until after church’.  I remember the daffodils, Daddy being at St Paul’s for hours and a very late lunch.  Easter always heralded the beginning of Spring.’ Dawn
‘1945, war ended, but Father was detained in Germany until late 1946. 1947, parents took an Easter holiday and my sister and I went to Grandparents. We were showered with 12 Easter eggs apiece, despite rationing. This was the way that friends and family could show their relief. Unforgettable.’  Patricia‘As children we all wanted a new hat or bonnet for Easter. My sisters and I sometimes had a new dress or coat too. My mother made all our clothes – she had trained as an upholstress so had a head start when during the war she used some of the family coupons to buy pieces of material or was given second-hand items to make into something special. I remember one year we had navy blue winter bonnets with embroidered flowers around the edge and a strap under the chin, made from my father’s old fireman’s uniform when he had a new one! My mother was a great fan of rickrack trim and many a dress was decorated with it.I loved to look through her boxes of dressmaking items, zips of every colour and size, coloured braid, lots of different coloured cotton reels, black and silver hooks and eyes and press studs on cards in various sizes as well as lots of elastic and a wonderful collection of buttons. It was a real treasure trove for me.The photo was taken on a visit to Kew Gardens in about 1950 and was a favourite place for a family Sunday afternoon walk.  My 3 sisters and I are all wearing clothes made by my mother including my youngest sister’s bonnet – pink with white braid around the edge. The rest of us are wearing straw hats that seemed to be the fashion at the time. Happy memories! ’ Diana‘Church looking radiant and smelling of lilies
Bright sunshine
Shivering in unwisely summery clothes
Joyful music, joyful everything, after the dark drama of Holy Week
Lots of yellow
The nation on holiday.’ Anne‘Going to Grovely Woods on Good Friday afternoon when Pa was back from church for a picnic tea and to pick primroses and dig up moss for the Easter garden. I think we must have been allowed to help with the garden on Holy Saturday because I remember the fiddle of putting the primroses in little potted meat jars.’ Katharine

APRIL SHOWERS by our Gardening Correspondent

How good to be in England now that April’s here.

Those who ever lived abroad when spring hits England yearn to be home again: for the verdant growth of green, the blossom floating and the magnificent magnolias, fulsome in the urban gardens and squares. Daffodils are still abundant, scattered randomly or planted in swathes of colour. The tulips hit their April stride, the buds first, with just a hint of colour, and then the silky goblets of rich hue, gracing borders, urns and pots. There is a lightness in the air, a feeling of gaiety and promise, the scented renewal of living things.

The catkins, the pussy willow of the nursery nature class, but also of the hornbeam, hazel and silver birch, shower down tiny flowers. The clematis armandii outdoes them all and showers cascades of fragrant blooms, a bridal veil of delight.

The sun is warm and the land follows suit, but the sea stays cold and is slow to catch up. Gentle winds to blow inland and the cumulus clouds build up, and bless us with sporadic showers:
“When April showers may come your way, they bring the flowers that bloom in May”.We can embrace the saying just as it is, folklore, or perceive it as carrying a deeper meaning, of adversity followed by good fortune – a promise of good things to come.

A Doctor writes

Several of you have written to ask what type of sou’wester you should wear to avoid a good soaking and chill during April. I am full of admiration for this approach to health – prevention is better than cure. For those of you not already in possession of one of these collapsible oilskin rain hats, I strongly advise that you place your order now. They will undoubtedly be in short supply in a few days’ time. I recommend a wide gutter front brim and long extension at the back. Take care not to wear it back to front. I have done this on several occasions, giving rise to the impression that an unfortunate accident had befallen me.

I realise that many of you will have already prepared for a month of sunshine, if you’re lucky, and showers. You will have unearthed umbrellas with mechanisms that no longer work, cagoules to carry in rucksacks, rain capes to put into panniers – all on the off chance that a sudden downpour will descend from the heavens. Canon Kenny is one such individual and he has asked, “Should I still invest in a sou’wester?” My answer was “Most definitely! And wear at all times. This will avoid all that packing, carrying, unfolding required of other rain repellent equipment.” He saw the wisdom of my words and will be conducting services at St. Guillebaud’s throughout the month of April wearing a bright yellow hat. Parishioners are strongly advised to follow suit in view of the leaking roof and despite the fact that April is usually a remarkably dry month, April the 27th being the driest day of the year in our locality.

Stay dry if you can, and remember, “After the rain cometh the rainbow.”

Dr. Lauderdale Spratt etc. (failed)

April Showers by our Celtic fringe weather correspondents


To grow up in Scotland is to have a childhood full of rain.

Summer cycling holidays in the Outer Hebrides; packed lunches on a beach in the middle of winter on Iona; family trips to self-catering cottages on Skye; my youthful memories of holidays gone by almost always include the feeling of being perpetually damp, if not outright dripping.

And yet it was not until I moved down to London in 2013 that I really noticed rain. That is to say, rain in Scotland seemed as normal and uninteresting as a tree, or a pigeon, or the sea. It was just another thing that was always there.

In London, however, rain no longer hung around on the skyline trying to decide whether another drizzle was needed or if two bouts of water was enough for one day. This rain suddenly decided to appear, once every so often, but making up for its sporadic behaviour by sheer quantity –  I described it to my mum over the phone as, “God taking a bucket full of water and just upending it over the city for forty-five minutes!”

It is this dramatic rain that was a back-drop for some of my most memorable moments during those first few years in the city, such as the first time I walked out of a cinema into a post-rain, night-time London and wandered around absolutely mesmerised at the way that the neon signs reflected onto the wet pavements, creating a dizzying light show. (Rain in London, of course, is also never quite such a problem as rain in the countryside. In the immortal words of Mona at Othona 2014, spoken as a wet, cold and alarmed group of parishioners huddled round a wounded teenager who was trying to get shards of mussel out of her foot and privately wondering if it was possible to die from mortification as she bled onto the beach, “It’s not so bad when there’s places to shelter!!!”)

As we near April here in Aberdeen, it is a surprisingly sunny and, at 10c, outrageously pleasant climate here in this rather grey town. Everyone is overjoyed, but this quintessentially contrary Scot is privately hoping for slightly more rain. After all, if my childhood taught me anything it’s that Scotland isn’t really Scotland if one isn’t at least a little bit damp.



After the restraining period of Winter which brought with it chilblains and dark days, April was welcomed as the beginnings of Summer. April showers were embraced with light heartedness and  tolerated with invention. Many of the showers were ‘bwrw haul,’ sun rain.’ The house, our family home, adjoined one of the town’s medieval gateways to the town, and took its name from it. ‘Porth-Yr-Aur’ ‘Golden Gate’ came  from the archway itself. History gives two possible reasons for this, the first reflects the dramatic sun sets which come to rest on Anglesey then the Menai Straits, simultaneously in its travel illuminating in gold the gate, or secondly, this was the route smugglers used to transport their bounty. The practicality of the usefulness of the gate as shelter gave us children the means to continue playing  when a sudden downpour interrupted our street game whether follow the arrow, marbles, hop scotch or one of the many inventive creations we thought of and which would entertain us for an extended play time. Memories of April and showers elicits joy and optimism.

And now for some singing in the shower

Free family showers seem to multiply and occasionally singing is heard coming from the bathroom although it can be difficult to tell whether it is K-Pop or a traditional tune such as “do you ken John Peel with his coat so grey”.  Showers have been keeping the plants in our window boxes alive and Felicity has been able to use her new umbrella.  We also recently experienced an unintentional shower coming through our kitchen and dining room ceiling and were very relieved when it stopped. Return to on-site school has been a wonderful transition.  How fantastic to see friends again, play team games outside, chat without boring grown-ups and take snacks to school. Lateral flow testing kits are making their way into our lives together with census forms and long explanations and speculations about how centre assessed grades will be determined. But we are keeping the admin at bay and looking forward to Easter.

Now We Are Six

Jake received an envelope containing a ‘6 Today’ birthday badge. It eventually dawned on him that he’d been at St Giles’ six years in various roles. He asks that the mischievous sender make his/herself known. The usual suspects have already been interrogated.

Perhaps the sender also had the following in mind:
‘But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
For ever and ever.

May we rejoice in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, today and always

Love from


St Giles’ Parish Office
Tel.: (020) 7638 1997
St Giles’ Church
Fore Street, Barbican
London, EC2Y 8DA