Wednesday, 6 April 2011

United Guilds Service

This service is held annually and has been since 1943 when the Great Twelve Companies decided to hold a service for  Livery Companies and Guilds to help raise spirits after the Blitz. The Lord Mayor and Sheriffs attended as they do to this day. It is now one of the very few events during the year at which all the Livery Companies and Guilds come together.
The procession is long and apart from the Masters of the Great Twelve Companies also includes the Masters from twelve other selected Livery Companies. The Marketors were selected and so I found myself processing up the enormous nave of St Pauls at the start of the service. The service itself was very fine although, as always, the Lessons and Sermon had great clarity whilst the huge choir, brilliant though it may be, was quite wasted due to the appalling acoustics in St Pauls. It's an extremely well known and commented on weakness and I simply dont't know why, with modern acoustic technology, they don't fix it.

In this most Protestant of churches the sermon was given by  the Very Reverend John Hall, Dean of Westminster Cathedral. The occasion coincided with the 400th anniversary of the death of  the poet and churchman John Donne. He was a man of great paradoxes, who grappled with intellectual paradoxes and as a metaphysical poet his work frequently contained paradoxes. A Roman Catholic he converted in 1615 and became an Anglican priest largely it has to be said because James 1st ordered it and partly for financial reasons. He went on to become the Dean of St Pauls. The sermon preached by the Dean of Westminster  naturally used paradoxes as a basis for an excellent peroration.

After such spiritual refreshment we walked across the road for some corporeal refreshment at Stationers Hall where 14 Marketors sat down to a most enjoyable and paradox-free lunch.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Master Marketor

    Good to see you in the procession at the United Guilds'Service. You're right it is quite a long walk but what a colourful one.

    Just a small point Dr John Hall is a protestant and Dean of Westminster(Abbey). Not a man I would see succumbing to the Pope's blandishments and enticements to slip across to Rome.

    Best wishes
    Master Draper