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United Guilds Service 19th March 2010

On Friday 19th March 2010 the Master Upper Warden and Clerk met at Saddlers Hall to be robed before walking to St Paul's to take part in the 68th United Guilds Service.

The idea for the service was conceived on the 1st February 1943 when a at a meeting of the Masters and Prime Wardens of the twelve Great Companies, held at Goldsmiths Hall, on February 1st 1943, it was decided to hold a Service in St Paul's Cathedral for the Livery Companies and Guilds of the City of London. The idea behind the Service was to help lift the spirits of the City following the blitz during the Second World War.

Having regard to the religious origins of the Companies, Thursday, 25th March 1943, Lady Day was selected as the date of the Service, being the first day of the year according to the Julian Calendar. The right Honourable the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Samuel Joseph, attended along with the Sheriffs, and the Court Aldermen and the Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of London, Dr G F Fisher, preached the sermon.

On the short walk to the Cathedral the Bowyers party rubbed shoulders with the officers of the other Companies all dressed in their colourful finery. Like peacocks they strutted to their rows in the nave, the Bowyers among them. The bowyers row was full for the occasion and the service started with a fanfare promptly at 11.15am 15 minutes earlier than on previous years, with a fanfare from the trumpeters from the Blues and Royals. The formal procession followed which included the Choir, Clergy, representatives from the Livery Companies, Officers of the Mayor's Office led by the magnificently attired City marshal, The City Aldermen followed by the senior clergy with the Lord Bishop with the Lord Mayor at the end.

The Service began with the bidding prayer being given by the Dean. Hymns and bible readings and prayers then followed. The sermon was given by the Bishop of Norwich. It was excellent and its theme was patience he began with the following quote:

"Patience is a virtue
Find it if you can
Find it in a woman
But seldom in a man"

He used St Joseph, the Christ's 'step-father' as a an exception to this rule as there is significant evidence that he was a man of great patience. He married a woman who was bearing a child that was not his, he then had to go on a long journey and then flee for safety. As Jesus was growing up he was apparently a difficult child. He dreamed when he was supposed to be working, he disappeared in the temple and engaged in what must have be precocious debate and later he disappeared into the desert doing his own thing. There is every indication the Joseph coped with his wayward son with great patience.

Over the years it has taken a long time for his role to be recognised by the Church it was not until the 20th Century that he was formally recognised in the Book of Common Prayer.

After the service the party met at the foot of Queen Anne's Statue before walking to Stationers' Hall for Lunch. The party was made most welcome and the meal which consisted of an entrée Pressed Ham Hock followed by rump of welsh lamb rounded off with passion fruit and champagne jelly washed down with Sauvignon and Red Burgundy.

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