I am delighted to announce that the acting Bishop of London has appointed the Rt Rev'd Dr Stephen Platten as the first Chaplain of St Martin-within-Ludgate (SMWL). As you may already know, Bishop Stephen is a Court Assistant of the Stationers' Company and an old boy of the old Stationers' Company's School. I am sure that you will all join with me in congratulating Bishop Stephen on his appointment.
The appointment by the Diocese of London of a Chaplain at SMWL coincides with a new agreement that the Company will take over operational control of the entire interior of the church in addition to its meeting rooms, which we were already managing. This agreement is an exciting step forward for the Company as it extends the footprint of our Hall to include SMWL.
There is still work to be done to make the project viable in the longer term and much depends on getting permission to re-design the fixed pews in order to make the main body of the church more flexible in terms of its use. It will always remain consecrated but its purpose, which is currently limited, can be extended beyond being merely a place of worship and this will give it a whole new lease of life.
Bishop Stephen describes the project eloquently thus: “our garden has become a cloister; a modest city square has morphed into the equivalent of an Oxford quad! But the truth is more interesting still, for garden and square remain, quad and cloister are now alongside them! This intentional ambiguity stands at the heart of the future vision. Quad and cloister point to education and religion, but garden and city square speak too. As ever, Stationers’ events will enjoy a beautiful but contained space for gathering at events in church, and hall alike; city square speaks of heritage and of letting a wider public access to appreciate the history and nobility of both Church and Hall”.
This is an exciting and wonderful vision and one that fits perfectly into the Stationers’ Company’s determination to contribute to the good of the nation as well as to its members.