Blessing of the River Thames

Around 200 people gathered on London Bridge on Sunday 14 January for the Blessing of the River

This annual event is usually celebrated on the Feast of the Baptism of Christ but because of the way Christmas fell last year our celebration was moved back a week.  The service is shared with the Parish of St Magnus the Martyr which stands at the end of the alignment of the medieval bridge on the north side of the river.  Processions leave both the Cathedral and St Magnus’ at about the same time and meet at the centre of the bridge which is both the diocesan and parish boundary.  It has to be remembered that the mediaeval bridge was not just a roadway but a place on which people lived and traded and worshipped and so was a very real part of both of our parishes.  But the ongoing pastoral care for the users of the bridge and of the river it crosses continues. 

Prayers were offered for all those who use the bridge or ply the waters.  However, this year’s ceremony was especially poignant as it was the first occasion we had met for this purpose after the attack on London Bridge on 3 June.  The Dean recognised this at the very beginning of the service as the names of those who died that evening were read out and a silence was held.

The Bishop of Kingston was part of the group from the Diocese of Southwark and with the Rector of St Magnus’ cast a cross into the water as a sign of God’s blessing.  The Mayor of Southwark, Cllr Charlie Smith, was present representing the civic community south of the river.