St Margaret’s, Putney (Anglican)

Photo0702History

The church was built in 1859 as a Baptist chapel, and was later used by Presbyterians. It was given to the Church of England in 1912 and dedicated to St Margaret, and was expanded in 1925 after having become a parish of its own in 1923.

Appearance

The interior of the church has whitewashed walls, with several memorial plaques on them. At the front of the church stands the altar, underneath a stained glass window depicting Christ. To the left of the sanctuary area is the pulpit, above which is a crucifix, whereas on the right of the sanctuary is a pipe organ.

A large bookshelf full of books was on the left-hand side of the church, mid-way between the sanctuary and the back (not visible on the photograph) – I did not inspect this more closely, but it looked like a small church library that may have been donated or bequeathed to the church.

It being Advent, the drapes over the altar and pulpit were purple.

Clergy

The service was led by a friendly female vicar who wore a white cassock with a purple stole. There was also a small choir of five, and three readers who wore white cassocks with blue stoles.

Congregation

The congregation, which was predominantly white, numbered roughly 45, although the vicar did mention that there had been a lower turnout than most Sundays. There were more women than men – although not disproportionately so – and most of the congregation (other than five or six young children) looked to be over thirty.

Service

I attended the 10:00 am morning service.

The service started with a prayer and an opening hymn, during which the vicar, readers and choirs walked up the central aisle to the sanctuary area. After another prayer, a candle on the Advent wreath was lit (it being the first Sunday in Advent) by a child from the congregation. He then went out with the other children to their own activities being held in the church hall.

There were then prayers of penitence, followed by the first set of readings. The Old Testament reading was Jeremiah 33:14-16, and the Epistle reading was 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13. They were given from the pulpit by a man from the congregation.

After another hymn came the Gospel reading, Luke 21:25-36. This, and the sermon which followed, were given by one of the readers. The sermon was topical for the first Sunday of Advent, talking about expectations of the future and of the Second Coming.

The Nicene Creed was then read, followed by prayers of intercession. The congregation then shared the sign of peace with each other, after which O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – my favourite Advent hymn – was sung. Pre-communion prayers were then said, including the Lord’s Prayer and the Agnus Dei, after which communion was served at the front of the church while the choir sang an anthem.

After some more prayers, the vicar gave some notices, and then the children came back in from their activities, and presented the congregation with some Advent posters they had made. The service then ended with a concluding hymn.

The service lasted about an hour and ten minutes.

Afterwards

After the service, coffee and cakes were served in the church hall. There was also a stall available with various Fairtrade goods for sale.

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