A Prayer Pilgrimage: St Pancras’
The church stands on possibly one of the most ancient Christian sites in Britain. Now in the centre of the Guildhall shopping centre it provides a quiet respite from the busyness of life, with a simple communion service at lunchtime on Tuesdays, a lay-led meditation inspired by the Taizé community in France one Friday evening a month, and a Book of Common Prayer communion service on one Sunday morning each month.
3 points of prayer
1) The font, which dates back to the 12th century, is the oldest fixture in the building. Circular and tapering, it has a band of beaded ornament round the middle of the bowl. Over the centuries it would have been the focal point of many hundreds, probably thousands, of baptisms, as babies and infants were welcomed into the church’s family.
2) The pulpit is a fine Jacobean, polygonal affair with carvings of foliage around rectangular panels. It was transferred from All Hallows in nearby Goldsmith St when that church was demolished in 1906. From here “the Word” would have been regularly preached during services, though nowadays the occasional sermon is delivered from the chancel.
3) The porch. As for any building, the porch is a transitional place as we move between two types of space – here, we are stepping out of a building known colloquially as “the house of God” back into the ordinary, secular world, epitomized by the shopping centre in which the church now stands. But it is a tenet of the Christian faith that God is not confined to special buildings, but is equally to be found in all the goings-on of human life.
1. The Font
as I touch the ancient stone of the font
where over the centuries babies have been blessed
with the water of baptism to receive their names,
I, (your name), give thanks for being a child of God;
and I pray that my name
will be entered for eternity in your book of life.
2. The Pulpit
whose true pulpit is all of creation,
for your word is heard through all of creation,
I pray that I and all who enter this quiet place
at the centre of the endlessly busy city
may open our ears and hearts to hear your still, small voice
speak your eternal word of good news.
3. The Porch
as I move from the stillness of your presence here
back into the whirl of everyday life,
I pray for the continued assurance of your being with me
at even the busiest and most difficult of times,
and that should I ever forget you,
you will never forget me.