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It is no secret that, for a number of reasons - public transport, parking, social - many Central London churches are struggling to retain a viable Sunday ministry. We want to seek ways to expand our numbers on Sundays, especially for Evensong.
We already host a large number of weddings, baptisms, funerals, thanksgivings, memorials and carol services and we feel that this is an excellent way of introducing and promoting St Bride's to a large and broad cross-section of the public. We want to work harder to ensure that we can retain more of these occasional worshippers.
We want to explore and develop ways of attracting and retaining teenagers and young people.
The steeple was literally falling to pieces at the beginning of 2012; it was decided to embark upon an appeal - the Inspire! Appeal - to repair and clean the steeple and external walls, and to repair and redecorate the interior of the church. Sufficient funds were raised to deal with the most urgent work - that to the steeple - and the scaffolding finally came down at the end of November 2013.The congregation has undertaken to finance the internal repairs and redecoration, and has raised £130,000 of its £200,000 target as of March 2015. Further ingenious ways to reach the target will be rolled out over the next year or so.
At present, there is no central resource for the study of Sir Christopher Wren, his City Churches, his life and ideas. There is, however, an existing crypt museum at St Bride's which is in need of renewal. We felt that there was a good deal of sense in combining these projects whilst also completing the external work on the Inspire! Appeal. During 2014 and beyond, we will be engaging with donors, grant-makers and partners in bringing the Wren Centre to fruition.
St Bride's enjoys warm relationships with some of the larger companies in the Parish. We would also like to engage more closely with smaller firms and their staff, who may be unaware that such a precious resource is available to them on their doorstep. We are currently exploring various ways in which to achieve this.
The Guild is invaluable in assisting in the conduct of worship at St Bride's; we would also like to see it become more adapted to the seven day-a-week ministry that the church now provides, and to embrace younger members.
This Bursary was inaugurated by the Guild in 2012 to 'give something back' to the media industry. So far, the scheme has been a great success, with the first two students being offered full-time positions on national newspapers.