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At the start of May we held a Eucharist and BBQ in partnership with the IWGB Cleaners and Facilities Branch to celebrate the International Day of the Worker and the Feast of St Joseph the Worker which fall in early May. We had a fantastic time enjoying friendship and music in the garden after a rich celebration of the Eucharist together in Spanish and English.

In her sermon, our Outreach and Mission Coordinator, Kitty, explained the significance of Joseph to our community:

"Joseph worked an honest job as a carpenter; a respectful line of work that by no means deemed him elite in society. His work was honest, and manual, and would have required intense physical work. He dedicated his daily work to the glory of God. He would not have earned much money, but with what he did earn, he supported his young family."

"Joseph was directed by an angel of the Lord in a dream to flee to Egypt. He faced the very real challenges of finding a home, a source of income, and a life of safety. Joseph knew that his family was in danger, and like many migrants and refugees today, he was forced to go out from his native land to increase the likelihood that his family would live in a protected environment. All this while carrying the weight of fathering and protecting the long-awaited Messiah, his young son, Jesus."

"Today, Joseph is universally known as the exemplary patron of dignified work. How do you relate to the life of Joseph? The hidden Saint, the hidden worker."

We continue to remember St Joseph the Worker in our side chapel in which we regularly offer prayers for all the workers in the City of London.

Our next Spanish-language worship is a special event for Pentecost on Saturday 18th May at 12 noon. Our next Eucharist is on Saturday 8th June at 12 noon.

Today Christian clergy from across City of London churches submitted a joint letter of objection to a planning application which would dramatically harm the only non-Christian place of worship in the City, the historic Bevis Marks synagogue.

Believed to be the longest continuous ongoing place of Jewish worship in the world, Bevis Marks is not only a heritage site but a living diverse community in the heart of the City. As near neighbours, the community at St Katharine Cree is working with other religious and civic institutions to oppose the building of an excessively high tower block right next to Bevis Marks.

This development will overshadow the synagogue and block out the sky: it will actually constrain Jewish religious freedom of worship at the synagogue by preventing the reciting of prayers at the appearance of the new moon, the Kiddush Levanah. As leaders of civic and religious institutions in a diverse, international, tolerant city, we are deeply worried by a regressive restriction of freedom of religious practice.

Today, clergy met with Rabbi Morris and members of the community at Bevis Marks and then walked to Guildhall together to hand deliver the letter to a representative of the Corporation. The letter is a submission to the ongoing planning consultation before committee members decide whether to approve the application.

In response to our letter, clergy have been invited to meet with members of the Planning Applications Sub-Committee to discuss our reasons for opposing this development, and to set out the ways in which we - as leaders of religious and civic institutions - want to work constructively with the City to build on its success and support its future prosperity and vitality.

The letter:

Objection to planning application 24/00021/FULEIA

We are writing as Christian clergy within the City of London to express our objection to planning application 24/00021/FULEIA affecting Bury House and Holland House in Aldgate.

We share the developer’s aspirations to ensure that any development in the neighbourhood builds up local business, invests in the local community and contributes to the City of London Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy. However, the proposed development in its current form does not account for the harmful impacts of an inappropriately tall and imposing building in this location. In particular, the reasonable concerns of the Jewish community at Bevis Marks Synagogue about this development should be respected. This development would involve harms not only to the setting of a significant and uniquely important Grade 1 listed building and heritage site in the City, but the development would actually constrain the Jewish community’s existing religious practice (by obscuring a specific portion of the sky) at Bevis Marks Synagogue and therefore directly impinge on the community’s current enjoyment of their religious freedom of worship in the City.

As Christian leaders of different communities in the City of London, we know first-hand the value which religious practice and the freedom of religion and belief has in a modern global City. There are diverse people of every faith and no faith who live, work, and worship within the Square Mile – adding new chapters to the City of London’s history of toleration and civility.

Like Bevis Marks Synagogue, our City churches are not only historically significant heritage buildings. Our places of worship are centres for living diverse communities of people who live and work in the City or who visit here as worshippers, pilgrims, and tourists. As we seek to work in good faith to support the Corporation’s aim to develop and enhance the City, we want to work with you to ensure that planning decisions reflect the needs and aspirations of existing communities who have already been contributing to making the City a worthwhile destination for centuries, and who will continue to do so for centuries to come.

We wish to express our deep concern about a potential decision which we fear could undermine the City’s ability to function as a world beating trading and commercial centre and harm its reputation for generosity and respect for all religious communities, itself a blow to the City’s competitiveness.

It is particularly disappointing and concerning that the community directly affected by this application is the only synagogue – indeed, the only dedicated non-Christian house of worship – within the City.

We call on members of the Planning Sub-Committee to reject this application and to work with us to discuss ways in which we can continue to enhance and celebrate the place of our diverse religious and civic communities within the Square Mile as part of our contribution to the shared prosperity and long-term vibrancy of the City.

Will members of the Planning Applications Sub-Committee meet with us to take this conversation forward?

Signed on the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord by the following:

David Armstrong

Rector, St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate


Paul Gismondi

Priest-in-Charge, All Hallows on the Wall


Alanna Harris

Associate Priest, St Katharine Cree


Josh Harris

Priest-in-Charge, St Katharine Cree


Laura Jørgensen

Rector, St Botolph without Aldgate


Paul Kennedy

Rector, St Vedast-alias-Foster


Bertjan van de Lagemaat

Minister of the Dutch Church


Jennifer Midgley-Adam

Curate, All Hallows by the Tower


Jack Noble

Rector, St Giles Cripplegate


Arani Sen

Rector, St Olave Hart Street


Jennifer Smith

Superintendent Minister, Wesley's Chapel and Leysian Mission


Malcolm Torry

Priest-in-Charge, St Mary Abchurch


Chris Vipers

Parish Priest, St Mary Moorfields


Marcus Walker

Rector, Great St Bartholomew


Philip Warner

Rector, St Magnus the Martyr


Taylor Wilton-Morgan

Assistant Priest, Great St Bartholomew

As part of his year as Chaplain to the Sheriff of London, Josh preached to the Court of Common Council at a service on St Mark's Day including the Lord Mayor, Alderwomen and Aldermen, and Councillors as well as officers of the Corporation of London, at St Lawrence Jewry.

The reading was 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.

The City of London is a hugely successful common enterprise. As our current Lord Mayor likes to say, it is ‘the world’s oldest democratic workers’ and residents’ cooperative’. And it has produced exceptional riches – not only financial, but historic, cultural, political, for the wider UK and indeed the world.


At the heart of the City is this Corporation. This body of government, made of many parts.


The wards which you represent: each one is shaped by the stories of its people, its distinctive character and contribution to the City. The unique voices of those who live and work and visit your neighbourhoods: these are heard in the City’s deliberations because you represent them.


This takes a lot of listening, a lot of attention, to be a Councillor, or to be an Alderwoman or Alderman. You will know well the temptation to listen only to the voices who soothe our ears, who tell us what we want to hear, who speak like us. But if our listening is partial, we miss the gifts that other parts of the body bring.


Listening is needed because it is too easy otherwise to forget what you here

know better than most: that the City’s success is a shared achievement. The combination of ingenuity and industry which characterises our businesses; the advocacy of our political leaders; the rule of law underpinned by our legal system; the civic and religious institutions who provide the holistic support and community which diverse residents and workers need to thrive.


All playing their part in building our shared prosperity.


This Corporation – this body – is made of many parts who contribute.


The modern City’s success is built on services. But not only the services we think of as a product of the City: legal services, accountancy, consultancy, insurance, and so on. There are as well the other services on which all of us rely each day: cleaners, concierges and security guards, caterers, couriers and cab drivers, baristas, street sweepers and supermarket shelf fillers.


Such service workers underpin our experience of this City as a pleasant and vibrant place to live, work, and enjoy life. But they are more than their function: like so many of us, these workers have come to the City with dreams and hopes, with a hunger for its success and a contribution to make.


The church which I lead, St Katharine Cree, is the Guild Church for Workers, and we provide a space for all workers, of every background and occupation to come together as friends, colleagues, fellow members of the body we to which we together belong. But we have a particular role in supporting service workers to gather to share their stories, to encourage one another, to pray, to build relationships of exchange and mutual respect and trust. Our busiest activities are free English classes for migrant workers so they can take part more in City life. There is an appetite not only to learn the language and get along in work, but to contribute widely, to be recognised and seen and listened to as those with a stake in this place, with a part to play.


We are training people in our community of service workers as leaders, not out of sympathy – although many have been victims of abuse, and face the challenges that first generation migrants often do – but because they are gifted people who are gifts to this body. They are strong, purposeful, full of faith and hope, and have a vision for contributing to our shared success. Perhaps one day some of them might join you as Common Councillors.


Meanwhile, together with other churches and institutions in the City we have begun a season of listening – holding more than one hundred face to face conversations with service workers over the next month – to hear not only their needs but their hopes and dreams for this City, and their part in it, as well. If you would like to be part of this listening process, or to learn what we hear, then let’s talk.


But for now, for today, may we together listen to every member of this body of which we are part, remembering that ‘those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable’, that we might receive the gift they have for us, and we might be open to the gift we need to be to each other.


May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you in your listening, bless you in your service, and bless you through the others who share in our corporate life together in this City of London.



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