United Guilds Service – St Paul’s Cathedral, Friday 31st March 2017

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The United Guilds Service is one of the most colourful events in the Livery year.

The Lord Mayor and his Sheriffs are joined by the Masters and Wardens of every Livery Company, all clothed in their multi-coloured robes. Sadly no photos are allowed within the Cathedral so we are unable to show the full glory of this event.

Firstly there is a procession of the Masters of twenty four Companies, the great twelve plus others selected in turn. This year the procession was led by our very own Beadle, Ted Prior, acting as the Beadle to the Mercers, a great honour well deserved by Ted. We assume that the fanfare was for him and him alone!

Yet another fanfare greets a second procession, at the rear of which is the Lord Mayor and his Beadle.

The service that follows will be familiar to anyone with an Anglican upbringing.

This year the Sermon was given by the The Right Reverend Christopher Chessun, Lord Bishop of Southwark. He drew on the text of the second lesson that featured the parable of the good Samaritan. Into this the Bishop wove the events of the recent terrorist outrage in Westminster and his own cancelled meeting with one of the Ministers who, instead of meeting the Bishop, went to the aid of the stricken policeman. In turn, the Bishop returned to his Cathedral to hold an impromptu service for all those involved.

It was a relevant and poignant reminder of our responsibilities to each other and related back to the origins of the service in 1943. To quote the service sheet “The idea behind the service was to help lift the spirits of the City following the Blitz”. Our situation is nowhere near as grave as in 1943 but the need to unite is as relevant now as it was then.

After the service everyone then departed in turn, each to their own lunch venue.

The Master and his Wardens plus Mrs Surgeon and Mrs Warner prepare to depart for lunch

The Master and his Wardens plus Mrs Surgeon and Mrs Warner prepare to depart for lunch. The Upper Warden seems to be looking towards his lunch rather than concentrating on the photo-shoot!

Past Masters and Liverymen are all set to eat for the Company!

Past Masters and Liverymen are all set to eat for the Company!

This year we were royally entertained by the Stationers. scan_20170402-5scan_20170402-9

These occasions are fundamental to the fellowship within the Company and also give us a great opportunity to meet and get to know members of other Companies.

Our thanks are due to the Master & Clerk of the Stationers for organising such a splendid lunch – we all departed well fed and “watered”.