All are welcome to the St Paul´s Thursday Club. It is hard to describe what Thursdays are like in a few brief sentences. So I´ll just start with the facts. 11am- that´s when people start to arrive, being welcomed in the foyer with different art activities, a cup of tea and a nice chat every week. 12:15- all who want to are invited to gather in the Main Hall around the heart shaped candlestick for a short reflective candle lighting service, praying for people they are concerned about or cannot be there- there is always light and hope to be found in every darkness. 12:30- at the heart of Thursdays and how it all started: a delicious homecooked two-course meal; and so many different people sharing so many different stories around the table. There is something eucharistic and really special about sharing a meal, just like Jesus did so many times, and somehow you get a glimpse of the presence of God in our midst. But it doesn´t end there. Every first Thursday of the month everybody is invited to join some lovely volunteers in the Garden Room, at Hanover and Princess Court, for an inclusive art group- a lot of fun and with extraordinary results. For the rest of the month the wonderful pianist Victoria leads a Singing Group, formally known as the “Laundry Room Singers”. Singing for happiness, singing for fun and singing for community (whilst enjoying tea and biscuits of course…) Every now and again this group comes to sing in a Sunday morning service, much appreciated by the congregation. Whenever it is somebody´s birthday that must be celebrated- with song, cake, cards and candles. Once a month everybody is welcome to join the group going for a walk in the Botanic Gardens for free, learning a lot about plants and gardening and enjoying the beauty of nature throughout the different seasons. Sometimes exciting trips are organized, too- to the seaside, London, Ely or a local pantomime…
So that´s a lot of facts and details about what happens on Thursdays at St Paul´s. And yet it only begins to describe what it is like to actually be part of it all. You never know how it is going to be when turning up in the morning. And of course everybody is different. But as for me- I just hope I will never forget Christina (also known as the lady in pink) walking by my side in the Botanics, a big smile on her face and saying over and over again “I am just so happy, so happy!”. Or singing “Bring me sunshine, bring me fun”, smiling at Anna sitting opposite me and just suddenly bursting into laughter together. I just hope I will never forget the look on the face of Sandra when we all sang Happy Birthday, or Mark when he saw his Dr Who birthday card that even had his name on it. Or all the times we sing “within our darkest night…” Or the many times Daniel greets me in the foyer with the very true words: “Happy Thursday to you”. And that to me is Good News.
Hannah Lichtinger, 11.02.2019 (intern@ St Paul´s)
On 16th Februar at 7pm, Pianist Victoria Royce (Who leads the singing group) will be joined by other artists including soprano Rachel Gordon and the September Quartet for an event of romantic music. This is to raise funds for a keyboard for the Thursday Singing Group. More information can be found in the link below.