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The Guild of St Bride is to play a major role in the future development of the famous Fleet Street church as part of a 2020 Vision to ensure that it becomes even more a 'place of inspiration and worship, fulfilling its wider ministry to its interlocking communities.' The project is believed to be the most in-depth study of its type since the church was rebuilt and rededicated in 1957 after World War II bombing.
Talks have already taken place between the Rector, Canon David Meara and the churchwardens about a long-term strategy to take St Bride's through the next decade and beyond and as a result of the discussions, it became clear that the Guild was central to any development of the church's ministry.
To kick-start the project, one of the churchwardens, Christopher McKane,, who has been a guild member for more than 30 years, has headed a 'mission group' which includes Geoffrey Burgess, Jane French, Alec Hithersay, Janet Kitchen, David Lowish and Terence Smith, the Guild Marshal.
At the annual meeting of the Guild in Council, Christopher McKane reported that four main topics had been discussed:
(a) What is the purpose of the Guild?
(b) How is the Guild perceived by the congregation at large?
The Council heard that there were 'some quite disparate views' although some consensus emerged, particularly on how guild members acting as ushers at Sunday and memorial services could make visitors feel at home on entering the building.
Other mission groups will be meeting in the near future and will consider such topics as the Sunday congregation; media and PR; City livery companies; personal stewardship; the geographical/commercial parish; and tourists and visitors.
Members of the Guild at the annual Guild Sunday Service - February 2009