St Michael & All Angels, Barnes (Anglican)

History

The congregation worshipping at the church can trace its history back to 1867, when a school was built at which services would be held on Sundays. A temporary iron church was built next to the school in 1878, and both buildings were replaced by the current church in 1893. The church was established as its own parish in 1919.

Appearance

The church is basilican in layout, with a red brick exterior. The interior gives several hints to the Anglo-Catholic style of the church: a crucifix is behind the pulpit, a large icon of the Archangel Michael is situated on one of the walls, and there are even Stations of the Cross on the walls. The windows are stained glass, depicting saints, many dedicated to the memories of deceased parishioners. A large font stands at the back of the church.

Clergy

The service was conducted by a female vicar, who wore green vestments. I found that she spoke rather quickly during parts of the service, making some of what she said a little difficult to understand. According to the church website and service sheet, the church is currently in an “interregnum” between vicars, with the lady who took the service standing in until a new one is appointed.

There was also a choir, which was dressed in white and red vestments and sat up in the sanctuary. One member of the choir gave the gospel reading, whereas the epistle reading was given by a lady from the congregation.

Congregation

The congregation numbered roughly 40 – I forgot to make an accurate count. The majority were over fifty, but there were several younger people as well. There was a roughly even balance between men and women.

Service

I attended the 10 am Sung Mass. This followed an order of service named St Anne’s Mass, written by James MacMillan. The service began with the vicar and choir processing around the church with incense while an opening hymn was sung. After prayers of confession came the Gloria, followed by the epistle reading, Hebrews 7:23-28.

This was followed by the choir singing Psalm 34. After this came the gospel reading, Mark 10:46-52, which was read from the centre aisle after an acclamation by the choir. The vicar then gave the sermon on the subject of the gospel reading (the healing of Bartimeus the blind beggar), which was rather concise and to the point.

The sermon was followed by the congregation reciting the Nicene Creed, after which prayers were said. An offering was then taken, during which a hymn was sung. This was followed by prayers (including the Lord’s Prayer) before communion, during which nearly all of the congregation went up to the sanctuary to receive communion. In a manner similar to Roman Catholic communion, the bread and wine was lifted up and an altar bell rang at the point of consecration.

After communion, some prayers were said, and after a final hymn and blessing the service ended.

The service was Anglo-Catholic in style, with processions at the start of the service and before the gospel reading, and incense used at various points.

The service lasted just over an hour.

Afterwards

After the service, a piece was played on the organ, which most of the congregation stayed to listen to. Teas and biscuits were then served in a small hall adjoining the church.

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