My Account

Mayor's Blog: Places of worship

Date: 8 November 2023
Author: Councillor Suzette Nicholson
Title: Mayor of Richmond upon Thames

It has occurred to me that during the time I have been Mayor I have been invited to and visited several places of worship. Of course, the most personal one has been St Mary's Twickenham where the Civic Service was held on 8 October. However, there have been others around the Borough and around our great city of London. 

My first visit as Mayor was to Westminster Abbey on the Chilean Navy Day on the 24 May. There is an annual tribute at the grave of Admiral Thomas Cochrane, the 10th Earl of Dundonald, who in his life commanded the Chilean Navy and helped Chile in its fight for independence. Of course, the connection with the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames is through Bernardo O'Higgins, the founder of modern Chile who was educated in our Borough.

After this on 21 June came a visit to St Paul's Cathedral at the invitation of the Lord Mayor of the City of London, for the Annual London Boroughs Mayors' Service where all the Mayors had to process into the service, two by two, which reminded me of the animals and Noah's Ark. This was followed by an unforgettable tour of the Old Bailey to have a look round at our Central Criminal Court.

In July, there were two visits to Richmond, first on 9 July when there was a service at the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene, for Sea Sunday, and a visit to the Sea Cadets Headquarters to meet some of the cadets and later in July an invitation to the Licensing of the Rev Joe Moore at St John the Divine.

On 1 September, we helped greet the new pastor, Philip Slater, and his wife Caroline at the start of their ministry at Hampton Methodist Church, part of Hampton Mission Partnership.

Not part of a service but in the church building of St Mary's Barnes on the 24th of September, I was pleased to visit the Barnes Book Fest. The event was remarkably interesting and included an in-depth conversation with writer and historian, Sir Anthony Seldon.

On 15 October, the week after the Civic Service, there was another visit to Westminster Abbey for the London Mayors' Association's Civic Service which celebrates the Dedication of Westminster Abbey. The Mayors and their Mace Bearers had to process into the service from the Dean's Yard and then across to enter in through the Great West Door. We sat in the choir stalls where the acoustics enhanced the beautiful sound the choir made.

Lastly, there was The High Sheriff's Service of Thanksgiving at Southwark Cathedral, on this last Monday, the 6th of November. This was a thanksgiving for the judiciary, including local magistrates and those in the prison service. 
What is to come in most of our places of Worship this coming weekend is of course the acts of remembrance of the First and Second World Wars and unfortunately remembering those conflicts taking place since. I will be attending the Service of Remembrance in Richmond Synagogue this Saturday and the open-air service at the Richmond Memorial on Sunday. The Deputy Mayor will be at the Memorial in Radnor Gardens in Twickenham.

In our Borough we have various kinds of War Memorials. Some are memorials in our Churches, some standalone stone memorials in the centre of our communities, one in a school, Stanley Road Primary and one by the War Memorial Cottages in Hampton.

It has been a privilege to take part in this variety of services. It of course has been a particular honour to participate in the services at the nation's well-known London Christian Cathedrals. I also look forward to being part of the services of welcome for all leaders of Faith Communities in the Borough in the next few months. 

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Updated: 8 November 2023