Kennington Cross may seem strangely quiet during these days of lockdown but every midday the silence is broken. The bells of St Anselm’s are rung daily “to remind us of God and each other”.
It is all part of St Anselm’s imaginative reaction to the coronavirus crisis. A chalk board for messages and prayers stands outside the vicarage and parishioners can join WhatsApp groups and log into recorded online services: https://northlambethparish.
With the usual Sunday services now impossible, Reverend Angus Aagaard is now recording his services from locations around the church and the vicarage. Angus has even been seen preaching from the roof of St Anselm’s to an internet audience around Kennington and North Lambeth. The congregation also get involved in the service, with readings and prayers recorded at home.
“It almost goes without saying,” said Angus, “that this is a difficult period for everyone but I am full of admiration for the way so many are living out God’s commandment: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’”
In partnership with Kennington Tandoori, the local Indian restaurant, St Anselm’s are helping to provide meals to NHS key workers. Staff at St Thomas’, which lies within St Anselm’s parish, receive the meals on Mondays and Fridays.
St Anselm’s have instigated a host of virtual activities. Members of a WhatsApp group will be able to join a sunflower growing competition. Also, a virtual Pet show will judged by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This replaces the traditional Dog Show at Lambeth Palace Fete, which has had to be cancelled this year.