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St Anne’s, London
Church in Great Britain.
Designed by Christopher Wren in 1680, St Anne’s
is a red-brick building in the form of a Greek cross,
with a small parkette outside. The Baroque interior is
largely done in dark-stained wood and gold. Above the
altar are the tablets of the Ten Commandments, flanked
by side panels with the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’
Creed. Bright fabric banners hanging from the altar and
pulpit add a punch of colour.
In addition to its regular morning services, St Anne’s
holds jazz, choral, and Bach vespers once a month, and
afternoon services in Swahili and Latvian on alternate
Sundays. St Anne’s Music Society also hosts over
100 concerts every year, including free lunchtime concerts
and an annual Bach festival. Notably, St Anne’s
is the only English-language Lutheran Church in London,
although there is a Lutheran student chaplaincy.
St Anne’s in located in the City of London, and the surrounding
neighbourhood is a dead zone on weekends. However, the area is well
served by a number of Tube stops and bus routes.
The Revd Tumaini Kallaghe presided over the service. Martin
Knizia, director of music, served as cantor and organist.
Jean-Marc Heimerdinger, lecturer in Hebrew and Judaism
at the London School of Theology, delivered the sermon.
The date & time:
Sunday, 15 July 2012, 11.00am.
What was the name of the service?
According to the website, "Holy Communion."
According to the sign outside, "Choral Eucharist."
According to the service leaflet, "Holy Eucharist."
According to the first words spoken, "Morning Service."
How full was the building?
The church probably seats around 150 people, but there
were only a few dozen people in the congregation on this
Did anyone welcome you personally?
I was welcomed by a greeter who handed me a service leaflet
and hymnal. Recognizing that I was new, she introduced
me to the pastor and a few other church members, and we
chatted while we waited for the service to begin. Later,
an usher brought me a welcome package with information
about the church history, services, and concerts.
Was your pew comfortable?
There were two rows of wooden chairs at the front, followed by five rows
of high-backed, hard right-angled pews. No slouching here!
How would you describe the pre-service
Light, friendly, and welcoming.
What were the exact opening words of the
"Good morning, and welcome to our morning service!"
What books did the congregation use during the
Evangelical Lutheran Worship, the liturgical book and hymnal of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in Canada, and a reusable leaflet with the order of service.
What musical instruments were played?
Martin Knizia served as cantor and played on two separate
pipe organs: a larger fixed one and a smaller portable
one beside it. His playing was excellent throughout, including
a lovely Bach prelude and postlude.
Did anything distract you?
The décor. I loved the contrast between the seriousness
of the architecture and the playfulness of the banners.
I also spent some time wondering why there were columns
of a lion and a unicorn in a Lutheran church; apparently
the building was originally consecrated as an Anglican
church, and the two are heraldic symbols of the British
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or
We sang hymns from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, so the music itself
was mostly traditional liturgy, but the worship had a modern, intimate
feel to it.
long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10,
how good was the preacher?
5 – It took me a long time to figure out what Jean-Marc
Heimerdinger was getting at, and it wasn’t until
the end that I started warming up to the message. The
sermon felt longer than the 15 minutes, yet I felt that
he ended up saying less than he could’ve in that
time. Another woman gave a pared-down version of the sermon
for the children’s lesson, and that made much more
sense to me. Maybe I need to go back to children’s
In a nutshell, what
was the sermon about?
If we are to accept the word of God, we must also be willing
to accept his claim to our lives and align ourselves with
Christ. As humans, we are constantly stumbling and must
therefore continually repent and re-align ourselves with
Christ each day.
Which part of the
service was like being in heaven?
That fine tradition of Lutheran hospitality, or the readiness
to address the needs of others and to make them feel welcome.
For example, the congregation were invited to say the
Lord’s Prayer in the traditional or modern form
or in their own language, and we had a choice of taking
communion from a drinking cup or a dipping cup.
And which part was
like being in... er... the other place?
Pastor Kallaghe sang every line of the Great Thanksgiving
in the wrong key, no matter how hard the organist tried
to get her back on track.
What happened when
you hung around after the service looking lost?
Several members of the congregation came to greet me after
the service and invited me to join them for tea and biscuits
at the back of the church. While waiting in line, I got
to chat with a few more people, who all took a real interest
in getting to know me. The cherry on the sundae was when
I was asked if I wanted to help out with next week’s
service. I liked that (1) they had the confidence to believe
that I was going to come back, (2) they wanted to make
me feel part of the community right away, and (3) they
expect service as a key component of Christian community.
How would you describe
the after-service coffee?
How would you feel
about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic,
0 = terminal)?
8 – I enjoyed the overall atmosphere very much:
formal but intimate, friendly without being fake. The
music was excellent, as can be expected given the number
of concerts the church puts on throughout the year. The
sermon wasn’t great, but I’m told that there
is a regular rotation of speakers, so a single lacklustre
one is less of a deal-breaker.
Did the service
make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes. The atmosphere was very hospitable, and the service
made clear that the congregation was welcoming of cultural
diversity, accommodating to the differently abled, and
environmentally aware (they had reusable offering envelopes
and service leaflets).
What one thing will
you remember about all this in seven days' time?
Warm fuzzies from an all-round good service.
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