United Guilds Service 23 March 2007
Under a grey sky and the eagle eye of the Beadle the Master, Wardens and Clerk met at the Stationers' Hall before walking to St Paul's Cathedral for the Annual United Guilds Service. Where the Church and the City meet to celebrate and worship God.
The Company pew was full with a number of senor members of the Company being present including the Deputy Warden, John Hayton, Ian Spring and Simon Leach. This year the Master had the privilege of taking part in the Procession.
The Preacher was the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. His text was from the reading: St John, chapter 12: verse 21, Sir, we wish to see Jesus.Medieval craft guilds put on Mystery Plays so that people of that time in towns and cities could see Jesus. His sermon began with some thoughts of the Mystery Plays of the York, Coventry and Chester cycles. Mystery in this context had nothing to do with hidden or unexplained matters of the Christian faith but with the "Misteries" of the Medieval Guilds. He went on to say that specific guilds performed particular plays. For example the Coopers' presented the story of Noah, the Shearers' the story of the Nativity and the Smiths', the manufacturers of nails, the story of the crucifixion. Picking up this point he observed that nails not only represented the suffering of Christ but also held things together. He then drew into his theme the two sides of the City: the making of money and the creation of wealth and the charitable work carried out by many City institutions. It is these two activities held things together.
After the service Liveryman and partners went for lunch at the Stationers' Hall where the Company was good and the food, loin of port and red cabbage was washed down with wine. Except for those who had given up wine for Lent!!