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Servers' Festival - January 2013

The annual servers' festival is held at Southwark Cathedral in January, and this year was held as part of the Diocesan Strategy for Ministry Day of Prayer and Fasting - maybe that explains the presence of all 4 Bishops! Joan Surridge and Alan Mundy attended from CHS along with a large number of servers from across the diocese.

It began with a Eucharist with Bishop Christopher presiding. Bishop Richard (Kingston) led the prayers and Bishop Jonathan (Croydon) preached. During the service all servers stood for an act of dedication (which we might replicate at CHS one day…??)

There followed a break for lunch. Some people take their own sandwiches; others go to the nearby Borough Market. This year some may have joined in the fast or the prayers in the Harvard Chapel led by a Bishop. However the intrepid 2 from CHS were not quite so pious and tucked into our sandwiches.

After lunch, following tradition we separate into two groups for a teaching/training session. In previous years these have included displaying (and history of) the Cathedral treasures and presentations on the work of cathedral staff. This year David Payne, Cathedral Visits Officer, led an interactive tour of the Cathedral for the under 16s whilst Bishop Michael (Woolwich) gave the adults an interesting talk on Benedictine Spirituality and why Benedict had relevance for us today. He stressed that the Benedictine life underpinned what has become the Anglican pattern of worship. The monastic services of morning and evening prayer were retained in Anglican Church until the 1960s when they were replaced by other "rituals": Holy Communion and Holy TV! He also talked about the monastic elements of the Work of God: physical work (in the garden), spiritual reading and worship. But these all needed to be kept in balance to avoid eg clergy overworking or self-absorption in the spiritual life. Bp Michael also reminded us of the Benedictine stress on the importance of rest on the Sunday where reading was the main activity - we are invited to share in the rest of God.
The day finished with evensong in the choir. In previous years this has offered an opportunity for church servers to participate in the Cathedral service - if that is not enough of an attraction for some then there are the other attractions of the Cathedral shop and the building itself which together serve (sorry!) to make it an enjoyable afternoon.