In a change from the past few years, Master Susan Wood moved the Feltmakers’ annual carol service from the brooding medieval atmospheric splendour of St. Bartholemew the Great at Smithfield to the spectacular church of St. Stephen Walbrook. This church, built by Sir Christopher Wren, is now neighboured by very contrastingly styled new city office developments on two sides, but also nestles close by the Mansion House.
Reminding us of his design for St. Paul’s cathedral, it features a substantial dome under which the congregation sit in the round, with an imposing round stone alter by Henry Moore as the centrepiece. The church, although historic, has the modern role of hosting the London Internet Church.
It was hard to believe that the excellent choir, directed by Emma Corke, that joined the congregation in singing a selection of familiar carols, were only four in number, as they, together with organist Joe Sentance, could fill the church with glorious music. We benefitted from their performing several beautiful pieces for which the congregation were invited to listen rather than sing.
Lessons were read between each carol, and the Clerk led by reading the first of these.
The remaining lessons were read by Mrs. Frankie Vero, liveryman David Parker, Sarah Wood, Third Warden Anthony Philips, and the Master read the sixth and final lesson.
Liverymen always look forward to the address by our Chaplain, Colin Semper, and he certainly did not disappoint us this time, with his thoughtful and inspirational words, and just the right touch of humour, ending on a positive note to prepare us all for the Christmas season. It really makes you feel that Christmas has started.
The final blessing was delivered by The Reverend Canon, Dr. James Rosenthal, and with the organ playing, the Canon, Chaplain, Master and Wardens processed from the church. We all then followed, most to the nearby Tallow Chandlers’ Hall, where we were welcomed by wine and later by supper.