St Margaret's Church marks end of an era

Monday, 2nd November 2020

The clock tower of St Margaret's Church, Westminster

A Sung Eucharist of Thanksgiving was held in St Margaret’s Church at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 31st October 2020.

It marked the retirement of the Reverend Jane Sinclair as Rector and as a Canon of Westminster. It also marked the end of restoration work at the church as well as the decision of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster that St Margaret’s should focus on its growing ministry as the church on Parliament Square.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, said Canon Sinclair, who read the Gospel (Luke 14: 1, 7-11) at the service, was a ‘woman of vision, energy, resilience and deep principle.’ 

He said: ‘Jane, a blessing to us, wanted us to be a blessing to our neighbours. Jane, who longed to see us flourish in a unity fashioned from diversity. Jane who had the strength to push at doors grown stiff from too little use, widening the networks of our engagement with Parliament and Whitehall. Jane the preacher, Jane the pastor, Jane the teacher, Jane the diplomat shuttling in that surprisingly long journey between Abbey and church.’

The service also marked the retirement of Pamela Carrington as secretary to successive rectors of the church. She read the First Lesson (Philippians1: 18-26).

The Dean acknowledged that Dean and Chapter’s decision to change the focus of St Margaret’s meant that the Sunday morning service of Eucharist had ceased; a decision which disappointed its congregation. Dr Hoyle said: ‘This is a place with a great history and we can agree that the congregation and the choir, the worshipping and community life, and the commitment to church and faith here, has been deep and serious.’

The building work at the church involved the painstaking removal of external stonework on the church’s tower to allow the rusting ironwork beneath to be replaced with stainless steel.

An 18th-century clock, which was removed from the tower in the 1970s, has also been re-installed having been discovered in the early 2000s languishing in one of the Abbey’s yards. It was a gift from the politician and diplomat Sir Geoffrey de Freitas and has been restored and put back in its original location.

Sermon given at a Sung Eucharist of Thanksgiving at St Margaret's Church