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|2465: St Luke's,
Earls Court, London
Worshipper: Church Mouse.
Luke's, Earls Court, London.
of England, Diocese
An imposing Victorian church built 1873 to a design by 19th
century architects George and Henry Godwin, with great natural
light for a London church. It has recently had £3m work on the
crypt, opening up offices, study rooms and toilets. The nave
has been reordered, leaving many of the Victorian details, replacing
pews with chairs and adding a platform to the imposing semicircular
chancel area. The central nave soars upwards, supported on pillars
surmounted by an eclectic selection of statues of saints, and
high windows. The north and south aisles with lower roofs were
left unused. The stairs down to the crypt are placed between
the nave and north and south aisles.
They are the borough venue for the food bank and provide a place
to sleep for 35 homeless people on Saturday nights for the worst
part of the winter, starting in January, part of a rota with
other local churches.
The squares around St Luke's Church are made up of imposing
terraced houses, some of which are in single occupation, but
many if not most are split into flats or bedsits. The area is
known for its floating community.
The vicar, the Revd Adrian Beavis, led the service, with the
assistance of Nico Marais, the worship leader. An associate minister in training preached the sermon.
The date & time:
Sunday, 25 November 2012, 11.00am.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
There were about 75 chairs in the middle of the nave, arranged
in a semi-circular block, divided by a central aisle. There
were cushions on the floor at the front. At the start of the
service there were about 50 people; at the end the chairs were
nearly full and another 10 children were sitting on the floor
or moving around the building. The congregation at the service
I attended were polyglot and mostly comprised of families with
Did anyone welcome you
There were two women on the door handing out service sheets
and saying hello with lovely smiles. A lady in the row in front
of me turned around and greeted me with a smile. Vicar Adrian
saw me as he walked past before the service, reached over, said
hello, shook my hand and introduced himself.
Was your pew comfortable?
The padded wooden chair with a red cushion was comfortable.
How would you describe the pre-service
The pre-service atmosphere was unhurriedly busy and calm, with people getting things ready for the service, moving to their seats and quietly welcoming each other to the service.
What were the exact opening words of the
"Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our family service here
at St Luke's." Adrian then went on to explain what would happen
in the service. He also explained that this service would be
taking an overview of the importance of Christ in our lives
before Advent when we look forward to the coming of baby Jesus.
What books did the congregation use during the
A folded booklet with service information and a small space
for sermon notes. The Holy Bible, New International Version,
was on the shelf underneath the chair in front. The hymns and
worship songs were projected onto a screen to the right of the
What musical instruments were played?
Keyboard, guitar and drums, plus miked up singers.
Did anything distract
The eclectic collection of statues of saints, biblical figures
and worthies of the Church: St Sebastian, Tyndale, Cranmer,
Ross, Isaiah, David, St Alban to name but a few. I couldn't
work out a rationale for the collection. I could have been distracted
by the children running around during the sermon, but it was
a family service.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
Happy clappy, literally. The first part of the service was aimed
at children and the first few songs were led with actions from
the front: "Lord on high", "Our God is a great big God", "Our
God is so big", followed by prayer. Then: "Above all crowns"
and "O come all you faithful" before the sermon. The sermon
was followed by people bringing up names of people whom they
wanted to find Jesus and a few moments of prayer to do this.
Finally: "There is a redeemer", "You're all I need", notices,
and a final hymn from Tim Hughes that I wasn't familiar with.
Exactly how long was the
7 minutes (children's sermon from Vicar Adrian); 22 minutes
(adults' sermon from the associate minister).
On a scale of 1-10, how
good was the preacher?
5 During his sermon, the associate minister in training said he had only recently
arrived in London in the last two or three months, and it was
obvious at moments that he wasn't preaching in his first language.
I know from experience how hard it is to produce something that
works for young children yet speaks to adults, let alone trying
to do so in another language. Both preachers indulged in dramatics
at times: The associate minister and Adrian stood on step-ladders to show
the relationship between Zacchaeus and Jesus.
In a nutshell, what was
the sermon about?
The first part was about finding things important. The second
part was on the story of Zacchaeus, which we were encouraged
to follow along in the pew Bibles (Luke 19:1-10 Jesus
stays at the house of Zacchaeus, a tax collector, who vows to
give half his possessions to the poor). Zacchaeus found something
very important in Jesus and that changed him.
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
The warmth and enthusiasm of the leaders and seeing so many children welcomed into the church.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Being encouraged to do the actions to "Lord on high" and "Our
God is a great big God" to an overloud sound system.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
It took 10 minutes for anyone to notice me. Finally the sound
technician enquired if I was all right, and we had an interesting
How would you describe the after-service
It smelt as if it was filter coffee, but the queue was very long and daunting and I didn't think joining the coffee queue would answer the looking lost question. The queue was still there after the conversation so I gave up and left.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
3 It's difficult to judge because this was a family service,
but it really isn't my preferred worship style. The lack of
communion and over loud sound system (which I know is the usual
style for these services, but I value my hearing too much) would
send me looking elsewhere if I was a local.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
I was glad to see so many families and children attending this service.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The associate minister and Adrian standing on step-ladders
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