Dids Macdonald OBE, Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, writes about the Company’s association with St Mary le Bow church.
Livery companies have had close ties with the church since medieval times and many believe that to be born within earshot of the Bow Bells, the bells of St Mary le Bow, defines one as a cockney.
Bow bells are also probably one of the most well-known in the world and meshed into London folklore when, famously, Dick Whittington heard them beckoning him to become Lord Mayor of London. Used by the BBC’s World Service as a symbol of hope across Europe and still heard loudly today, this reinforces the church’s influence in the heart of the City of London.
The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers is proud to be associated with this historic church and its current chaplain, Rector of St Mary le Bow, the Revd George Bush whose sage and amusing homilies make us smile. The original church was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and prayers are offered every weekday. It is a place of peace and tranquillity in the midst of the city and, more importantly, our own ‘parish church’.
St Mary le Bow is a polar axis for so many activities. Take the Boyle Lectures for example. named after Robert Boyle, a prominent natural philosopher a series of lectures or sermons (originally eight each year) to consider the relationship between Christianity and the new natural philosophy (today’s ‘science’) then emerging in European society. Every week meditation
Every Tuesday, there is a weekly 30-minute meditation group which is organised by and affiliated to the World Community of Christian Meditation. Together with the Faith and Work Forums which offer a distinctive approach to Christian formation for people at work, it meets weekly where fellowship is at the core of its raison d’etre.
Not to be missed is the Café Below, a friendly, family run restaurant serving rustic handmade food using fresh, simple ingredients in a quirky setting an ancient crypt beneath Bow Bells. For breakfast, lunch takeaway, private dining and wine tasting, a great local venue if you are visiting the furniture Makers Company.
If you are a freeman or liveryman within our company, alongside the daily liturgies held at St Mary le Bow, why not think of the church as a venue for a wedding, baptism as well as for memorials services. Or if you fancy rekindling an enthusiasm for singing why not join the Cheapside Chorus.