After domestic chores, Holy Saturday afternoon saw a visit to Hammersmith Bridge to see the University Boat Race, which for the record, Cambridge won in 17 minutes 35 seconds.
Then off to Southwark Cathedral for the Easter Vigil, Baptism and Confirmation. The service started in darkness. Bishop Richard, the Bishop of Kingston, blessed the new fire and lit the Pascal Candle. The Pascal Candle was carried by the Succentor – Anna Macham – who, after placing the candle in it stand sang The Exsultet (the Easter Song of Praise) unaccompanied from the pulpit. The Vigil continued with readings and music, including the Spiritual (Go down, Moses) sung by Canon Pastor – Bruce Saunders. The metrical version of the Gloria was preceeded by the Bishop, Succentor, and Bishop’s Chaplin (Canon Treasurer – Jane Steen) ringing handbells, whilst a fanfare was played on the organ. Another reading and hymn, then the gospel and sermon (from the Bishop – which led us into the next part of the service).
The next part of the service was baptism and confirmation – and the largest one of each I have seen. Ninety one (yes 91) candidates for confirmation – from around the diocese – of which forty were to baptised first. The procession led all those to be confirmed to the west end, where the bishop celebrated the sacrament of baptism, after which the focus of the service returned to the crossing for the confirmation.
Following the welcome of the newly confirmed – a lighted candle was handed to each of them, during the singing of the final hymn – Thine be the Glory. The service lasted around two hours and the newly confirmed will receive their first communion at their home churches on Easter Day.
After the service, it was then photo shoots galore, and tidying up to prepare the Cathedral for services on Easter Day – of which more to come in a future posting.