St Margaret’s to open again for worship and visitors

Thursday, 27th August 2020

The clock tower of St Margaret's Church, Westminster

St Margaret’s Church, the church next to Westminster Abbey and over the road from Parliament, will welcome back worshippers and visitors this autumn after being closed for over six months due to coronavirus and following extensive building work.

The church, affectionately known as the ‘parish church of the House of Commons’ is attended regularly by MPs and peers, including thanksgiving services celebrating the lives of parliamentarians. It has a distinguished history – a church has stood on this site since the 12th century and it is the burial place of Tudor explorer, Sir Walter Raleigh, and where Sir Winston Churchill, John Milton and Samuel Pepys were married.

The Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle said:

It is an important part of the Abbey’s mission that St Margaret’s is open as a place of worship, a place of reflection and encounter, a place where the nation’s church and the nation’s parliament can meet, and as an expression of the Abbey’s wider work alongside its neighbours around Parliament Square.
The church will re-open to visitors in October and we will resume the services so important in our engagement with both Houses of Parliament. Singers from the choir that have served St Margaret’s with such distinction will return to sing at some of these services.
As Abbey staff return from furlough, and we can increase our activity, we will also hold one of the Abbey’s regular Sunday services, at 6:30pm, in the church. We will keep these arrangements under review and, as resources permit, we will develop plans for more activity in the church, for a midweek service and a yet more lively engagement with the life of Parliament Square and our local communities.
We shall, however, no longer be able to sustain the separate Sung Eucharist in St Margaret’s that used to take place simultaneously alongside the Sung Eucharist in the Abbey. We know this is a decision that will be painful for the faithful congregation that gathered for that service and we hope that they will join the Eucharistic worship of the wider Abbey community, or in one of the many, thriving parish churches of Westminster.
We are grateful to the congregation, clergy, musicians, and staff of St Margaret’s for serving God with such grace and commitment, and we look forward to further developing the Abbey’s work and mission through St Margaret’s, grateful for the blessings we have enjoyed in that church in the past and full of hope for all that lies ahead.