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St Bride's plays its part in the life of the City Civic. The parish is part of the Ward of Castle Baynard, and the Rector can, as a resident, become involved in the Ward activities.
We have strong links with three of the City Livery Companies, and the current Rector is Chaplain to the Worshipful Companyof Stationers and Newspaper Makers, the Worshipful Company of Marketors and the Worshipful Company of Turners.
The Chaplain's role is not just to say Grace before formal company meals, but also to conduct the annual service and to be pastorally available in times of need. Members of our linked companies often get married, or ask for their children to be married or baptised at St Bride's. As all three Chaplaincies are on-going rather than annual, there is a real opportunity to build relationships between the church and company members, as well as to participate in Company events.
It would be useful for a new Rector to be admitted to the Freedom of the City, an ancient tradition which is an essential preliminary to becoming involved with the Livery movement, and identifies you with the wider Civic life of the City of London.
We are lucky enough to be able to be open all through the day so that visitors and tourists can come into the building to admire the architecture, view the crypt and enjoy some tranquillity in the midst of a bustling City. They can expect a warm welcome from our volunteers who run the church shop and who are able to answer questions on the history of the building. For a more formal experience, we offer weekly guided tours open to the general public and also bespoke tours for private parties.
Visitors can also join us for one of our regular lunchtime recitals, which take place twice a week throughout the year. Attendances at these recitals often exceeds thirty people.
In additional to its local and national work, St Bride's has a long- standing relationship with St James' School in Zongoro, Zimbabwe. A primary school has existed there for some time but, as part of a Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme project involving the son of a former Rector, a secondary school was built and opened in 1989. We were delighted when the first students from the secondary school entered University in the mid-1990s, showing great endeavour and stoicism in the face of immense political and social upheaval in Zimbabwe.
Since then, parishioners at St Bride's have raised funds to sponsor pupils, purchase books, provide running water and erect security fencing. We have also contributed to the costs of building classrooms, a library, a science block and staff accommodation. We are currently assisting the school with the construction of a computer lab.