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St Bride's has a strong tradition of musical excellence within our worship with a choir of professional choristers singing at our Sunday services in addition to the many weddings and memorial services. The Guild of St Bride, confirmed as a mediaeval guild by Edward III in 1375, was re-constituted in the 1950s and provides invaluable assistance at services through reading, ushering and ceremonial duties. In addition, members of the wider congregation are encouraged to lead Intercessions and administer the chalice.
Our main Sunday service is the 11am Choral Eucharist, which is on average attended by 90 adults and 15 children and is formal in structure but open and inclusive in feel and content; we baptised 21 infants during this service in 2013. Children are encouraged to attend Sunday School in the crypt for much of the service, returning in time for the communion and blessing. The service is followed by drinks and snacks at the back of church, and this aspect of the church's fellowship has been very successful in bringing together members of the congregation who might otherwise not get the opportunity to socialise, as well as welcoming new and occasional visitors.
We also hold Choral Evensong at 5.30pm every Sunday. Once a month, we incorporate Holy Communion within Evensong and, on the second and fourth Sundays, the choir performs a 'Sermon in Music' in lieu of the spoken word. In our weekly notice-sheet, we use the words "As the choir sings, we are provided with space for reflection, which allows us the freedom to participate in a silent but equally direct way." We feel that this sums up the nature of Choral Evensong particularly well. A typical attendance is 35 people.
Attendances are swelled, often substantially, at certain times of the year such as during Advent - when Evensongs are enhanced services or concerts beginning at 6.30pm - and at Easter and Christmas, or for particular occasions such as Remembrance Sunday and Trafalgar Day.
Because of the large number of commuters that flock into the parish every weekday morning, we hold a said Holy Communion in the crypt on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8.30am and also every Wednesday at 1.15pm.
We are a very popular choice for memorials and services of thanksgiving - usually 30 a year - for the life and work of those in the media, those in the parish or, indeed, those who came to appreciate the special place that St Bride's held in their lifetime.
We also host an annual service for the Media industry around the time of Armistice Day, which has proved to be a hugely meaningful occasion for those working in a profession whose future is under threat as never before.
Our links with four City Livery Companies have flourished, with each of those Companies holding their annual Patronal Services at St Bride's in addition to engaging with the church in other areas such as fund-raising, social partnerships and mutual support.r
Every second Tuesday in March, we welcome back the staff, pupils and governors of King Edward's School Witley (which, until the 16th century was situated in this parish), for an annual service of re-dedication in the presence of the Lord Mayor of London and other City officials. The Head Boy and Head Girl of the School are invited to join the Guild of St Bride in their year of office.
Saturday is our usual day for weddings - last year, 22 couples were married here, which is one of the highest numbers in the Diocese of London. We are very happy to consider any requests for marriage, but we do require that they engage with the church and its people to the extent that they are entitled to join our Electoral Roll. Pleasingly, many couples continue to worship with us after their big day and often their children are subsequently baptised into the Church during the Sunday morning Eucharist.