Christians draw together every week around a meal- a special meal to be sure, as each Eucharist re-enacts the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples , obeying his command to ‘Do this in remembrance of me’. Small wonder then, perhaps, that most Anglican churches particularly enjoy inviting people to join them for food on festive occasions. St Philip’s has a long history of hospitality given and shared throughout the 155 years since the church was built.
This tradition goes on. On 1st May, St Philip’s day, when we celebrated our Patronal Festival, we followed our service of thanksgiving with a reception welcoming everyone whether from our community of further afield. Although our Parish breakfasts have now finished as Caroline Hue Williams moves on, St Philip’s continues to delight in welcoming people to its services, and to offering hospitality.
Our wonderful team of coffee ladies, and the occasional gentleman, provide coffee and biscuits (and sometimes cake!) after every 10.30 service on a Sunday morning. We also have a team of ladies who pull out the stops for other festive occasions during the year. We start with a wonderful pre-Lent lunch where we mark the start of an austere period in the Church’s year by eating up a number of festive things before we begin the rituals of fasting or giving something up for 40 days from Ash Wednesday. Traditionally also for St Philip’s, we have a buffet lunch on the day of our Annual General Meeting. This often falls just after Lent, making a festive bookend to the rigours of Lent. Later in the year, we hold a Harvest festival lunch when we give thanks for God’s provision of food and remember the work of famers here and across the world.
During the year, we hold a number of afternoon or evening receptions as we meet together. One tea which stands out is held after a gentle and evocative service on the Sunday afternoon nearest to All Souls Day when we remember friends and family we have loved and lost. The catering year ends with warming mulled wine and mince pies after the Christmas Carol service. We are very grateful to everyone who gives their time and expertise in this important area of the Church’s ministry. If cooking is your pleasure and you would like to join the team, please speak to Anne Steele or Joan Vassilou.