St Andrew’s, Wimbledon (Anglican)

History

The church was founded in 1883 as a daughter church of Holy Trinity Church, another in Wimbledon. The current building was built over 1908-9, and was consecrated by the Bishop of Southwark on 25 September 1909. The church became a parish in its own right the following year, and the building has remained substantially in its original form since then.

Appearance

The church building is a red-brick basilica. The windows are all plain glass with the exception of the one at the front, above the altar. This shows Christ enthroned, flanked by the four patron saints of the UK (Ss George, Andrew, Patrick and David) as well as by the four animals symbolic of the Evangelists.

There is a high altar directly underneath this window, but it was not used during the service. Instead, a more modern-looking table at the other end of the sanctuary was used, which has two thick purple candles and a carving of the Christian fish symbol. A pulpit – over which hangs a crucifix – is to the left of the table, but a modern unornamented lectern was used instead.

On the right hand wall of the church there is another crucifix, and closer towards the back is a shelf of children’s books. There is a Lady Chapel to the right of the sanctuary, and a font at the back of the church. An icon of Saint Andrew is opposite the pulpit.

Clergy

The service was taken by a friendly male vicar. This was his last Sunday at the church, having been filling in for the church’s previous vicar who had recently passed away. He wore black clothes with a clerical collar, and made sure to welcome me as I arrived and also to chat to me after the service.

A lady from the congregation gave the Bible reading, and another led the responsive prayers.

Congregation

The service I attended was on Mothering Sunday, and so the congregation was swelled somewhat by some children of a local school visiting with their parents. I counted roughly 55 adults, with 21 children.

There seemed to be a good range of ages in the congregation, from teenagers and young adults to the more elderly, and the gender balance was around equal. The congregation was primarily white, with a few people of an ethnic minority.

The congregation seemed very friendly, with several people welcoming me as I entered the church.

Service

I attended the 10am Sunday morning service. Usually this would have been a Parish Communion, but there was no communion today due to the focus being more on Mothering Sunday; one parishioner told me that not having communion was very unusual, and that it is normally every Sunday.

The service started with the vicar welcoming everybody to the church, especially the children, and going through a verse of some of the songs (the words to which were printed on the service sheet) so we would know their tune later. Two of the schoolchildren lit four candles at the front of the church, with a prayer being said as each one was lit. Then, after a first song and some prayers, a Bible reading – Colossians 3:12-17 – was read out by a lady from the congregation.

After the reading, the schoolchildren performed the first two verses of All Things Bright and Beautiful, with some of them accompanying it on recorders. The congregation then joined in for the rest of the verses.

The vicar then gave a short talk to the children on the history of Mothering Sunday, after which they went to one side of the church to make posies of flowers while the vicar gave the sermon to the adults. The sermon was on the virtues of patience and compassion, linking them both to the reading and to the theme of Mothering Sunday, with the message that the love of a parent for their children can teach us both about the love of God for humanity and the love we are meant to show to everyone.

The children returned with posies of flowers, which they presented to their mothers in the congregation. After another song, one of the children performed a piece of music on a guitar, after which there were prayers led by a lady from the congregation, concluded with the Lord’s Prayer led by the vicar. There was then a final song, and a concluding blessing.

The service lasted about 55 minutes.

Afterwards

Coffee, juices, biscuits and cake were available at the back of the church after the service. Most of the congregation stayed for some time for refreshments and to talk, and Happy Birthday was sung to three people whose birthday it was that week.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: